The French government has issued a decree that would ban the use of “meaty” descriptor terms for plant-based meat alternative products produced in the country, with the aim of tackling misleading food labels.

Specifically, the decree states that it shall be prohibited to use, for the purpose of describing, marketing or promoting a processed product containing plant proteins, the following: 1) a legal name for which no addition of plant protein is provided for by the rules defining the composition of the foodstuff concerned, 2) a name referring to the names of animal species or groups of species or to animal morphology or anatomy, or 3) a name containing the following terms:

  • Fillet
  • Striploin
  • Rump
  • Rib steak
  • Beef cut
  • Sirloin
  • Hanger steak
  • Thin skirt
  • Beef steak
  • Chuck
  • Chuck steak
  • Thin flank
  • Steak
  • Escalope
  • Flank
  • Grilled
  • Loin
  • Spare ribs
  • Ham
  • Butcher
  • Meat product maker.

The decree also contains a list of more than 100 terms authorized for the description of foodstuffs of animal origin that may contain limited amounts of plant proteins, and the maximum share of plant proteins that can be contained in the foodstuffs for which the terms are used. Such terms include, but are not limited to: bacon, chorizo, cordon bleu, cooked ham, salami, and sausage. The name of a foodstuff of animal origin may also be used to describe flavors or food ingredients with flavoring properties used in foodstuffs.

People or entities who hold for sale or distribution, offer for sale, sell, or distribute foods that do not comply with the royal decree may result in fines ranging up to €1,500 for individuals and €7,500 for companies.

The decree will come into force on the first day of the third month following its publication.