Veggie sausages and burgers on a plate© Martin Lee/REX/Shutterstock

French MPs have banned food manufacturers from labelling vegetable-based products as meat substitutes.

The ban, agreed on Thursday (19 April) will effectively see an end to products labelled as soya “steaks”, vegetarian “sausages” and vegan “cheese”.

French lawmakers ruled that to market vegetable-based products as meat substitutes is “misleading” for consumers.

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The ban was proposed by MP and farmer Jean-Baptiste Moreau, who said the move would “better inform” customers.

He tweeted: “Our products must be given correctly: the terms of #cheese or #steak will be reserved for animal products.”

Threat of fines

Food companies and manufacturers who fail to comply with the legislation could be fined up to €300,000 (£263,000).

All eyes will now turn to the UK to see whether this country adopts similar legislation.

In January, Marks & Spencer sparked controversy with its “cauliflower steak” product, which came under fire not only for its lofty price (£2 per packet) and packaging, but also its misleading name.

M&S later withdrew the product from its shelves.