Government Bans ‘Vegetarian Steaks’, Sparking Backlash From Divided Vegans

A 'rare' instance of vegan uproar...

Government Bans ‘Vegetarian Steaks’, Sparking Backlash From Divided Vegans

Image: Delish

There are few foods that occupy such a sacred space in most blokes’ hearts as steak. That’s why we wanted to hone in on this news coming out of France — that the use of the term ‘vegetarian steak’, among a swathe of others, has been outright banned, sparking strong and divided reactions from vegans and meat-eaters alike.

A decree was issued on Tuesday that will demand supermarkets change the way plant-based food products are labelled. The decree bans the use of meat-related terms such as “fillet,” “ribeye steak,” and “spare rib” along with another 18 terms, or 21 in total. Vegan cheeseburger heads will be pleased to hear that “burger” is not included in the list.

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The new regulation aims to enhance transparency and reduce confusion for consumers when selecting food products, of which there is apparently plenty amongst French supermarket shoppers. This comes after a previous attempt in 2022 to implement similar rules was quickly overturned by France’s top administrative court due to the vagueness of the proposal as well as the insufficient time provided for companies to adapt their food labels.

The new rules won’t be enforced for three months, giving supermarkets and manufacturers a final few weeks to get their labels up to scratch. Interestingly, the law specifies a second list of animal-based products that have been allowed to retain a meat-sounding label, provided the proportion of plant ingredients does not surpass a certain threshold.

For example, “bacon” can contain up to 0.5% vegetable ingredients, while “nuggets” can include as much as 3.5%.

Reactions To The Announcement

The announcement has sparked a great deal of debate online about whether the new laws succeed in making the situation more transparent for consumers, whether they make life harder for vegans, or whether there was any point in passing such a law at all.

France bans ‘steak’ label on vegetarian products
byu/pierrepaul inworldnews

One of the top comments on Reddit’s news thread pointed out the inconsistencies in the use of the term “steak” historically, and how this ruling fails to understand the nuances therein…

“This does seem pretty dumb as even the term “steak” has really never meant a single piece of unground meat or product. Just look at what people call Hamburg steak, also called Salisbury steak, which has been used for over a century at this point.”


Then the vegans went head to head on the issue. Some embraced the change…

“As a vegan, I’m totally fine with this…”


Others, however, were not so keen…

“I’m vegan, I kind of hate this… Coffee beans and cocoa beans aren’t legumes. You could argue the name is confusing. There really isn’t similar targeting of trying to get cocoa and coffee beans renamed as seeds.”


As is so often the case, it was the funniest comment of the day that took the hotspot, however, rather than anything that really contributed significantly to the debate. Punning on an age-old Frenchism…

“If it’s not from the Steak region in France, then it’s just sparkling vegetables.”


Do you think this is a long-overdue update to labels or wasted taxpayer money? Let us know.