Home » France bans the use of the name “steak” or “ham” for vegetable products

France bans the use of the name “steak” or “ham” for vegetable products

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A new decree published on Tuesday by the French government specifies a list of names reserved for animal products and therefore prohibited for vegetable protein products. This includes steak, ham and fillet.

The decree has been requested for years by the pet industry, which believes that terms such as “vegan ham”, “vegan sausage” or “vegetarian bacon” can confuse consumers. The government published a first decree in June 2022, but it was suspended by the Council of State.

The new text contains two lists of terms reserved for products of animal origin or containing very little vegetable protein. Terms referring to the names of animal species or groups of animal species, or to the morphology or anatomy of animals, are also prohibited when it concerns a product containing vegetable proteins.


Certain terms may be used for foodstuffs “of animal origin that may contain vegetable proteins, provided that a maximum percentage of vegetable material is respected”. This concerns products in which the vegetable ingredients “do not replace foodstuffs of animal origin, but are added as a supplement to the latter in the context of these assemblies”. Examples include bacon, chorizo, cordon bleu, pastrami, pâté and various types of sausage.

The maximum content of vegetable proteins varies from 0.1 percent for a whole liquid egg to, for example, 5 percent for a sausage. The use of terms from the animal kingdom also remains permitted for aromas.

The decree provides for maximum fines of 1,500 euros for private individuals and 7,500 euros for companies.

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