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EU producers are fighting to remove the word ‘meat’ from some vegan meat alternatives.

The animal agriculture lobby is arguing that consumers are being misled by product names such as vegan hamburgers, chicken nuggets and bacon.

The argument follows a similar row in the US, where congressmen wrote to the FDA to complain about plant-milk producers using the word ‘milk’ on their products – amid rising sales of the vegan alternative.

CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, Nick Allen, told Munchies: “Meat is a product that comes from animals. Any use of the word in any other context is deceiving the public.

“In a funny sort of a way, when these people want to use the word meat, it is as acknowledgement that there is no substitute.”

There are already strict EU rules in place for the labeling of dairy-alternatives. Words like ‘milk’ and ‘yoghurt’ can only be used for consumables produced from ‘mammary secretions’.

Now meat bosses would like to see this type of ruling applied to certain meat-style products.

Clitravi is a conglomerate of EU meat producers. In a statement to Munchies, Clitravi president Robert Volut said: “Numerous foodstuffs suitable for vegetarians or vegans derive their sales from names which relate to meat, animal species, specific meat cuts and/ or meat products.

“We believe that this contravenes the rules relating to clear and unambiguous consumer information.”

The current regulations state that ‘labeling cannot be misleading as to a food’s primary composition’. 

“In Italy, for example, cured ham can refer only to a pig meat product,” said Volut. He added that veggie alternatives that use a ‘description or style’ of meat fit these guidelines – meaning ‘vegan burger’ is acceptable, but ‘vegan hamburger’ isn’t.

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