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South African court permanently blocks seizure of plant-based meat alternatives

April 15, 2024

A South African court has definitively ended a dispute over the labeling of plant-based meat alternatives. The Johannesburg High Court's ruling ensures these products can be marketed using terms like 'burger' and 'sausage' without fear of seizure.

The controversy began in June 2022 when the Department of Agriculture (DALRRD) argued such labels misled consumers and sought to remove them. This sparked outrage from plant-based food advocates who challenged the ban in court. In August 2022, the court initially halted the planned seizure, and now has permanently struck it down.

This decision aligns with similar cases worldwide. France, Italy, and Belgium have all seen legal challenges to restrictions on plant-based meat labeling, with producers generally retaining the right to use familiar terms.

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) celebrates the ruling as a win for the industry, highlighting its role in job creation. Food awareness organization ProVeg also welcomes the decision, emphasizing the importance of ongoing communication between stakeholders and the government.

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