France Bans Terms Like ‘Meat’ and ‘Milk’ From Plant-Based Food Labels

France thinks plant-based products with labels featuring the terms “meat” or “dairy” are deceiving to consumers. Now, the country has made it illegal to use those words on vegetarian and vegan food products.

That’s right. France just accomplished what the U.S. meat and dairy industries are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do: forbid meat and dairy alternatives from using certain names or descriptions on their packaging.

For example, in France you now won’t be able to buy “vegetarian sausage,” “vegan cheese,” “plant-based milk” and so on. The companies that market all these products are going to have to come up with alternative names. If they fail to comply, they face a fine of $370,000.

almond milk

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr

In France, there would be no more Just Mayo, Beyond Beef, Follow Your Heart cheese, Boca vegan chicken patties, Silk almond milk, Kite Hill yogurt — the list is endless. Those products can still be sold, but they’ll have to be called something else in that country.

France’s new agricultural bill contains the policy change, which was championed by MP Jean-Baptiste Moreau, a farmer and La République En Marche member. Moreau argued that calling vegetable analogue products “meat” or “milk” was misleading and false labeling.

Moreau pursued passage of this ban in France after seeing the 2017 European Court of Justice ruling that said dairy terms, like ‘milk’, ‘yoghurt’ and ‘butter’ can be applied only to products that come from cows.

“It is important to combat false claims,” Moreau tweeted. “Our products must be designated correctly: the terms of #cheese or #steak will be reserved for products of animal origin.”

The Independent quizzed British residents about this development. One respondent said, “This is ridiculous. I can tell you now no carnivore has ever bought veggie sausages or Quorn thinking they were buying meat.”

That’s really the point, isn’t it? No one is actually confused by faux meats and dairy products.

If consumers are buying plant-based products, they’re doing so on purpose. Perhaps that’s because of animal welfare concerns, or maybe it’s strictly a health-based decision.

Big Meat and Big Dairy think they’ve won a major victory in France. These industries may even believe they can ride that wave of success into the U.S and get the rules changed here too. But, should that happen, consumers will adapt.

If soy milk can’t be called soy “milk” anymore, I’ll be buying a carton of soy “whatever-it-is.” I’m still going to buy the product I want — even if it’s called something unappetizing like “soy extract juice.”

There aren’t masses of grocery shoppers wandering the aisles in a zombified state, blindly picking up anything that says “milk,” “cheese” or “burger” on it without heed to what it’s made from. Consumers read labels. We know what we’re buying. Sadly for the milk and dairy industries, it’s not animal products anymore — plant-based food is taking the world by storm.

Stop the silly war on vegetarian and vegan products. It won’t save you, Big Meat and Big Dairy.

Photo Credit: NeONBRAND/Unsplash


hELEN habout a month ago


Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

France should ban foie gras.

Richard B
Richard B4 months ago

thank you

Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan H4 months ago

This totally helps vegans identify vegan food. Thanks for the clarity.

Cindy S
Past Member 4 months ago

they are sick in the head nd hate animals

Amanda M
Amanda M4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Amanda M
Amanda M4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

W. C
W. C4 months ago

Thank you.

William C
William C4 months ago


Dave f5 months ago