Food awareness organisation ProVeg International has started a petition to ‘stop the veggie burger ban’ after the European Parliament’s proposal to ban the use of words including ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’ to describe vegetarian and vegan products.

Last month, the agricultural committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of the proposal on the belief that the names are misleading for consumers. If the proposal is passed, vegan and veggie burgers may be called ‘discs’ and sausages may be called ‘tubes’.

The committee passed the ban on producers of vegetarian food using terminology that is usually for describing meat with 80% approval; these products include steak, sausage, escalope, burger and hamburger.

ProVeg International has described the proposal as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘irrational’, the petition will be delivered to the European Parliament before the final vote which will take place after May’s European elections.

ProVeg UK spokesperson Philip Mansbridge said: “There is no evidence to suggest that consumers are confused or misled by the current labelling of vegetarian and vegan products. To suggest that consumers do not understand the meaning of the term ‘veggie burger’ and other similar terms is an insult to their intelligence.

“The use of ‘burger’, ‘sausage’ and ‘milk’ wording on plant-based products actually serves an important function in communicating characteristics that consumers are looking for when buying plant-based products, especially in terms of taste and texture. They’ve been used successfully for decades. Why confuse matters?

“The proposed restriction would also unnecessarily restrict manufacturers, producers and the positive social and environmental changes created by the plant-based market, one of the fastest growing and most innovative sectors in the food industry today.”