House of Lords reject EU ‘veggie disc’ proposal

Veggie burger or veggie disc?

Friday, July 26, 2019

Members of the House of Lords are rejecting EU proposals to rename vegetarian burgers and sausages as “discs” and “tubes".

The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee suggested bringing in new legislation so that the words “burger”, “sausage” and “steak” could only be applied to meat products, and not to meat-free alternatives.

But the move has caused concern in the Lords, with peers on the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee claiming it would "reduce consumer clarity" on vegetarian foods, and become “a barrier to growth for a burgeoning sector of the food industry".

In a letter to agriculture minister Robert Goodwill, Lord Teverson, who chairs the Sub-Committee, said that “without evidence of a problem, legislative action by the EU is unnecessary".

He summarised that the move would “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".

Dr Geoff Bryant from vegetarian brand Quorn, who gave evidence in the Lords’ review, said that in 30 years of making meat-free products, "not a single person" had complained that they were misled by the wording.

The Committee heard that less than four per cent of people had mistakenly bought a vegetarian product.

It acknowledged that if the proposed changes were to go ahead, they would not likely directly affect the UK after Brexit, but may have implications for UK businesses seeking to trade with the EU.

Lord Teverson's letter concluded by asking Mr Goodwill whether, in the event of the proposals going ahead once Britain has left the European Union, he would consider a similar measure in the UK.

Mr Goodwill is expected to respond within 10 working days.

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