This is a new setback for the meat industries. The Council of State once again urgently suspended, on Wednesday April 10, a government decree prohibiting manufacturers of plant-based meat substitutes from using the words “steak”, “escalope” or “ham”, on the grounds in particular “ that there is serious doubt about the legality of this ban.”

The text responded to a long-standing demand from stakeholders in the animal sector, who believe that terms like “plant-based ham”, “vegan sausage” or “vegetarian bacon” can create confusion among consumers. The government published a first decree in June 2022, already suspended in summary proceedings by the Council of State, then a second at the end of February.

When asked about the first decree, the judge asked the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) whether a Member State could “adopt national measures regulating or prohibiting this type of denominations”. . However, the CJEU has not yet responded. The second decree is suspended for the same reason “pending the response from the CJEU”, justifies the Council of State, which has therefore not yet ruled on the merits of this case.

The judge in summary proceedings considers, moreover, that this text providing for a ban from May 1 “would seriously and immediately harm the interests of manufacturers” who manufacture this type of product in France, while their competitors manufacture in other countries. Other European countries are not subject to it. The decree, which is among the commitments made by the government to appease the anger of farmers, was published during the last Agricultural Show.