Veggie Burger Debate Makes It To European Court Of Justice

Press Release: Veggie Burger Debate Makes It To European Court Of Justice

[Brussels, 31 July 2023] – In a landmark development, the French Conseil d’Etat has taken a significant step in addressing the crucial issue of food labelling for plant-based products. The Conseil d’Etat has decided to transfer parts of the court case brought forward by the European Vegetarian Union (EVU) and the Association Végétarienne de France (AVF) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ is expected to answer a series of core questions before the Conseil d’Etat can pursue its ruling.

Background: In 2021, France introduced a decree that prohibited the use of “meaty” denominations for plant-based foods, following the adoption of the law on “transparency of information on agricultural and food products” in 2020. However, the EVU and other parties argue that the compatibility of the French decree with EU law is in question. The Conseil d’Etat has moreover decided to join together several cases challenging this law.

The ECJ is set to provide answers to vital food labelling questions raised by the French Conseil d’Etat. These questions address the use of names for food products containing plant proteins and their potential impact on consumer understanding. The ECJ will specifically need to clarify:

  1. Whether Member States can actually introduce their own additional laws such as the one France introduced or whether EU-level harmonisation prevents them from doing so.
  2. Following from that, if Member States are indeed allowed to introduce such laws, is the French Decree as it currently stands proportionate in achieving its goal of providing consumer transparency?

Ronja Berthold, Policy Manager at the European Vegetarian Union, highlighted the significance of this case, stating: “The outcome of this court case will have far-reaching implications for the food labelling of plant-based meat alternatives across the European Union. It’s crucial to ensure that consumers have accurate and transparent information about the products they purchase, especially as the demand for plant-based alternatives continues to grow.”

Élodie Blanchard, President of the AVF added “We welcome the Conseil d’Etat’s decision to ask the European Court of Justice for clarification on food labelling. This is a pivotal moment, not just for France but for the EU as a whole. This is a litmus test for the rights of consumers who are looking for more responsible and conscious choices. In a context of ecological urgency, and climate change in particular, the French government is expected to avoid creating obstacles to the transition towards more sustainable food systems, and to refrain from bowing to pressure from the livestock lobbies”.

Next Steps: The EVU and AVF eagerly await the ECJ’s responses to these crucial questions. Once the ECJ provides clarification, the French Conseil d’Etat will resume the court case.

The EVU and the AVF remain committed to promoting transparent and appealing food information for consumers and advocate for harmonised regulations that support plant-based alternatives while protecting consumers’ interests.


About the EVU: The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) is the umbrella association of 44 civil society organisations in 28 countries. The EVU represents the voice of the growing number of European consumers shifting towards a more plant-based diet. As such, we advocate for a favourable food environment that makes it easier to choose more plant-based foods and dishes.
About the AVF: The Association Végétarienne de France (AVF) is the association for all those who want to contribute to the dietary transition. It provides the information and tools needed to establish a healthy, happy and sustainable plant-based diet, and promotes all the steps, individual and collective, private and public, that are being taken in this direction.

Media Inquiries 

Press Contact: Ronja Berthold, Policy Manager at the EVU, +49 30 29 02 82 53 71,

Press Contact: Élodie Vieille Blanchard, President of the AVF, +33 6 32 43 86 40

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