“Steak”, “escalope”, vegetable “bacon”: the name once again suspended by the Council of State

“Steak”, “escalope”, vegetable “bacon”: the name once again suspended by the Council of State

Since March, they have been prohibited from using names commonly associated with meat products. France Bleu Maine – Alexandre Chassignon

This Wednesday, April 10, 2024, a court decision put a further stop to the government's desire to prohibit manufacturers from describing meat as "steak" a soy pancake in order to satisfy a request from farmers and animal sectors.

The Council of State urgently suspended this Wednesday, April 10, 2024 a decree prohibiting manufacturers of plant-based alternatives to meat from using the words "steak", & ;quot;escalope" or "ham", on the grounds "that'there is serious doubt about the legality of this ban" .

This text was published at the end of February, during the last Agricultural Show. It is among the sixty commitments made by the government to appease the anger of farmers.

For the government, it was a question of responding to a long-standing demand from stakeholders in the animal sector, who believe that terms like "vegetable ham", & quot;vegan sausage" or "vegetarian bacon" can create confusion among consumers.

The government published a first decree in June 2022, which had already been suspended in summary proceedings by the Council of State. On the occasion of this first referral, the judge in summary proceedings questioned the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to find out whether a Member State could &quot ;adopt national measures regulating or prohibiting this type of denominations". However, the CJEU has not yet responded.

The second decree is suspended for the same reason, "pending the response from the CJEU", explains in a press release the highest administrative court, which has not yet ruled on the merits of this case.


The summary judge also considers that this text, providing for a ban from May 1, "would cause serious and immediate harm to the interests of the companies which market these products" which in particular would have had to urgently modify their packaging. It further notes that their competitors manufacturing these products outside France are not subject to this ban.

"It's a victory for the plant industry", responded in a Happyvore press release, which had contested the decree with other specialized companies (La Vie, Umiami…).

"Our steaks, chipolatas and even our merguez will therefore keep their names, this is very important for the sustainability of our brand", highlights the company which sells preparations based on pea and bean proteins.

The Protéines France association, which defends the interests of plant protein manufacturers and which was at the origin of the appeal against the first decree (June 2022), is not among the applicants this time. The organization is now chaired by a leader from Avril, a French plant giant itself chaired by the boss of the majority union FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau.

Mr. Rousseau had affirmed that Protéines France would not file a new appeal, believing that the plant world had to "be inventive to find terminology that does not mislead the consumer". However, he regretted that the decree provided for a "Franco-French rule" at the risk of favoring imports.

At the hearing on April 3, a government representative indicated that it supported "the development of French vegetable proteins" but wanted to "avoid confusion among consumers".

Within the European Union, the naming of plant products by terms traditionally reserved for animal meat is authorized, with the exception of products based on animal milk. For example, it is not possible to use the word "yogurt" or "cheese" for a plant substitute.

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