An online petition has exceeded 19,000 signatures in three days, challenging the EU Parliament's proposals to ban the use of traditional names such as 'burger' and 'sausage' for plant-based products.
The proposals - approved by the EU's agriculture committee- are to face a vote by the full EU Parliament this month. If passed, veggie burgers may be rebranded as 'discs' and sausages as 'tubes'.
The petition, created by global food awareness organization ProVeg, has described the EU's intention as an 'unnecessary and patronizing restriction which will stifle positive change'.
'Irrational and far-reaching'
"There is absolutely no evidence that consumers are being misled by vegetarian products," Felix Domke, Head of Politics at ProVeg, told Plant Based News.
"To the contrary, they choose vegetarian products based on names and descriptions like 'veggie burger' and 'vegan sausage' precisely because that wording makes it abundantly clear they do not contain meat or other animal ingredients.
"The inclusion of burger or sausage wording in a vegetarian product is also important for consumers to know what flavor or texture to expect of a certain product. The EU is seeking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and, as a result, could really damage businesses that label their products appropriately."
Domke added: "This is an irrational and far-reaching limitation of freedom for businesses and consumer interests."
French socialist MEP Éric Andrieu, who was responsible for overseeing the legislation, referred to the ban as 'common sense'.
"The meat lobby is not involved in this...It has generated considerable debate among the political groups and a large majority wanted to clarify things. Particularly in the light of history, the history we share, you can have a steak or burger, you can't call it something else."
You can sign the petition here