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Food & Wine reports that French regulators have banned "words that have been used to describe meats or fish — like 'steak' — from being used for their meatless counterparts.

"'It will not be possible to use sector-specific terminology traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal world and which, in essence, are not comparable,' the country's official decree said."

France is said to be the first European country to implement such a ban, though the story notes that the decision "came just days after South Africa's government passed a similar ban on meatless manufacturers using names and terminology 'prescribed and reserved for processed meat products'."

"It will not be possible to use sector-specific terminology traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal world and which, in essence, are not comparable," France's official decree says.  "The new ruling is only applicable to plant-based products that are manufactured in France … plant-based dairy products are already subject to similar restrictions throughout Europe, and the words 'butter,' 'cheese,' or 'milk' cannot be used on the labels of plant-based products."

Food & Wine points out that the traditional meat industry is said to be celebrating the move, but companies in the plant-based space .. not so much.

KC's View:

Interestingly, one word that avoids being clumped in with all the other traditionally beef-oriented words os "burger," which the story says can still be used to describe plant-based or meat-free patties.

I sort of have mixed reactions to this.  On the one hand, I'm never quite sure why plant-based companies want to use traditional meat jargon if they want to really differentiate themselves.

On the other, so often these words have less to do with what the product is and more to do with helping consumers put them into context and help them figure out how the products will cook and be eaten.  

But … c'est la vie.