France is enacting a new law that prohibits the use of meat names on plant-based food products. The new French law, which goes into effect in October 2022, bans the use of terms such as “sausage,” “steak,” “bacon,” and “chicken” to describe plant-based foods. Under the French law, however, the use of the term “burger” is exempted as it is not a reference to one specific type of meat. The restrictions apply to domestic products only and not to imports.
In 2020, the EU rejected a similar proposed ban backed by Europe's meat industry. With the passage of this law, France becomes the first EU country to impose labeling restrictions of this kind. However, similar laws have recently been passed in Kansas, Missouri and certain other U.S. states.
For U.S.-based advertisers and agencies, this is another reminder that just because advertising may be OK to use in the U.S. does not necessarily mean the same advertising will be permissible when used abroad. If advertising may be intended for use outside the U.S., advertisers and agencies should consider which party will be responsible for legally clearing the use of the advertising in the target market.