There's a battle waging in the EU, and it's about the term “veggie burger”

veggie burger on plate
Photo: ATU Images (Getty Images)

Farmers and meat lobbyists are raging over the term “burger” in the EU, where the European parliament will vote next week on whether or not to ban the word to describe the things that we call veggie burgers stateside. The terms “yoghurt-style” and “cheese-style” are also possibly on the chopping block, The Guardian says.

Meat lobbyists claim that using the word burger to describe a vegetable-based product is a “cultural hijacking” of the meat industry. There’s already a ban in place on using the words “milk,” “butter,” “cheese,” and “yoghurt.”

Those lobbyists claim that marketing agencies are using the word “burger” as a way to trick customers into believing their products are meat-based. The opposition thinks that this is absurd.

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“This is clearly nonsense,” says Jasmijn de Boo of the food advocacy organization ProVeg International. “Just as we all know there is no butter in peanut butter, consumers [buying veggie burgers] know exactly what they’re getting. These proposals are in direct contradiction of the EU’s stated objectives in the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy to create healthier and more sustainable food systems.”

It’s interesting that here in the U.S. this hasn’t been an issue, as far as I can tell. I’ve never been confused about whether or not I’m seeking out a plant-based alternative to meat or dairy, as I’ve had to look specifically for these items since they don’t typically share the same shelf space.

There’s somewhat of a split in the EU: France backs these banning proposals and has already banned veggie burger labeling, while the Netherlands opposes the labeling ban (and has even made this spoof commercial that goes off the rail halfway through). The vote happens this week, and we’ll see what happens to these angry meat lobbyists.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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DISCUSSION

yourmomandmymom
Darth Fabulous

This reminds me of a joke:

Dude walks into an ice cream shop. Asks for a quart of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.

Clerk: sorry, we’re out of chocolate.

Dude: ok, I’ll just take a pint of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.

Clerk: sorry, we’re still out of chocolate.

Dude: ok, how about just a scoop of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.

Clerk (exasperated): Look, can you spell the ‘van’ in vanilla?

Dude: Sure, v-a-n.

Clerk: Can you spell the straw in strawberry?

Dude: Um, s-t-r-a-w

Clerk: Now spell the ‘f***’ in chocolate.

Dude: There is no ‘f***’ in chocolate.

Clerk: THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU