Court victories secured for plant-based labeling in France and South Africa

ProVeg International welcomes legal developments that favor the use of “meaty” names for plant-based foods

Food awareness organization, ProVeg International, has this week welcomed two court rulings that support the use of “meaty” names for plant-based food products. The rulings come out of the French Conseil d’Etat – France’s highest court – and the Johannesburg High Court in South Africa.

“Restrictions on the labeling of plant-based food have proliferated around the world so it is great to see two major court rulings that reject the basis on which they are made,” Jasmijn de Boo, Global CEO of ProVeg International, said.

“Consumers are simply not confused by the labeling of plant-based foods and efforts to restrict the plant-based industry represent a huge waste of time and resources. 

“Instead, we need to encourage the shift to climate-friendly diets by promoting plant-based food wherever we can. Plant-based foods emit half the amount of greenhouse gasses as animal-based foods and their greater consumption is a way that people can make an effective contribution to tackling climate change,” de Boo added.

The French and South African rulings

In the French ruling, a Decree prohibiting plant-based products from using terms such as “steak”  was suspended on 10 April. It was due to come into force on 1 May but the court stated that it had “serious doubts” that the measure could be implemented in light of EU legislation on the provision of food information to consumers.

Other EU Member States that have considered similar restrictions will undoubtedly see the French court ruling as a warning that they could face similar legal challenges because of existing EU legislation.

In South Africa, the High Court in Johannesburg overturned a planned seizure of all plant-based products that use “meat-like” terms in a ruling handed down, also on 10 April. 

Donovan Will, Director of ProVeg South Africa, acknowledged the efforts made by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) in getting the seizure stopped and hoped for greater engagement from the Government on the matter. 

“We hope that this latest development will encourage the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to meet with stakeholders in the plant-based space to discuss the issue further,” Will said.

“Given the multiple benefits of eating a more plant-rich diet for personal health, the environment, in lowering our carbon emissions and for global food security, ProVeg would love to work with the South African government to better take advantage of plant-based products for the people of our nation. 

“Plant-based meat alternatives is still a young industry and it’s understandable that there is nuance and perhaps some confusion about it. 

Regulating a new industry can be complicated and challenging particularly as it slots into the food and agriculture sector, but given the undeniable benefits ProVeg sees this as an opportunity to leverage our international expertise and work with businesses and the government to ensure the successful and sensible regulation of these products and grow the industry as a bedrock for healthier alternatives and a job provider,” he said.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected]

About ProVeg International

Our vision is a world where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet. ProVeg International is a food awareness organization with the mission to replace 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040.

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