Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.32 20 Oct 2020


Share this article


The debate on whether to ban words such as 'burger' or 'sausage' for plant-based foods is intensifying ahead of a key EU vote.

A vote is taking place this week in the European Parliament on the wording used for meat and dairy substitutes.

As well as a potential ban on phrases such as 'vegan burgers', another amendment proposes further restrictions on already strict rules for dairy substitute terminology - extending it to descriptions such as 'yoghurt-style' or 'cheese-like'.

Meat industry lobby groups have claimed that the use of words such as 'sausage' or 'burger' for vegetarian or vegan alternatives is confusing for consumers and should be banned.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is among the groups in favour of such a measure.

However, opponents of the proposal have dismissed any suggestion that the terminology is 'deliberately confusing'.

They've also argued that plant-based foods are important to achieve some of the EU's climate goals.

Newstalk Breakfast today heard the arguments from both sides of the debate.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said words such as steak, sausage and burger have been used by farmers for generations.

He said: "They're natural products produced from the grass growing in fields, derived into meat and dairy products."

Mr Cullinan argued it would be "totally misleading" for the terminology to be used for plant-based alternatives.

He said: “What we would have here is the impact of big business moving in and try to take control of what has been produced by farmers for years."

'Convenient' words

Sandra Higgins, director of campaign group Go Vegan World, said there are some vegans who aren't in favour of using words typically associated with meat.

She said: “In many ways, we don’t want any association with animals [...] who are exploited and killed unnecessarily for food.

“On the other hand, people use those terms for convenience - we’ve grown up in a culture where we eat food that’s a certain shape, like a sausage or a burger, or dairy products. It’s very convenient for people to just replace those products with plant-based products.

“Farmers do not produce those products - animals who have feelings, families and a right to their lives produce their products. They’re exploited and killed unnecessarily for them."

She said that producers of vegan food - such as the well-known and long-running Quorn company - have never had complaints about confusion between meat and plant-based products.

She argued: "The animal agricultural industry is threatened by the very rapid growth in people who are vegan - not only for ethical reasons, but also for the ethics of the environment and health as well."

Main image: File photo of a vegetarian burger. Picture by: Abel Uribe/Zuma Press/PA Images

Share this article


Read more about

EU Farmers Veggie Burger

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

The Pat Kenny Show

The Pat Kenny Show

09:00-12:00

Share

Up next

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on