UK House of Lords Subcommittee Argues Against Meat Definition Laws
The EU Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the U.K. House of Lords has submitted a letter to the country’s agriculture minister in response to a EU committee’s approval of a measure that would prohibit the use of meat-associated words and phrases—including “sausage,” “burger” and “steak”—to describe plant-derived products. “Veggie tubes proposal a misteak,” the subcommittee’s press release headline states.
“Our witnesses were unanimous in the view that current naming conventions around vegetarian burgers and sausages are clear and easy to understand,” the letter states. “[W]e are concerned that the amendment would in fact reduce consumer clarity, be a barrier to growth for a burgeoning sector of the food industry, and ultimately make it more challenging for people to reduce the amount of meat in their diet at a time when Government should be seeking to encourage the opposite.”
The letter also notes that the amendment is “unlikely to apply directly to the UK” because it would take effect after the country leaves the EU. “However, if it were implemented it would have implications for UK food businesses seeking to trade with the EU, and also speaks to the broader issue of ensuring that health and environmental objectives are properly integrated across the policy landscape,” the subcommittee concludes. “We would therefore like to know what your position on this amendment would be if it were to be discussed at Council; whether you are aware of any evidence that the problem is ostensibly designed to solve does in fact exist; and whether you would consider implementing a similar measure if it were to take effect after the UK leaves the EU.”