What's In A Label?

What's In A Label?

The Académie française is, without a doubt, the authority in the protection of the French language. If you’ve read our article Au Rivoir Smartphones, you can see the depths to which the committee is willing to go to make sure that the language is preserved. 


According to a report by The Independent, French MPs have voted to prohibit the use of language used to describe meat, including the English words "sausage" and "burger," for anything that isn't actually meat. This mirrors an incident in the U.S. where Hellman's & Best Foods wanted to crack down on companies like Hampton Creek and Unilever by asserting that, by law, if a product calls itself mayo, it must have eggs. As one may expect, they were unsuccessful in instituting this linguistic regulation, and have developed their own lines of egg-less mayo.

While good intentioned, this entire cause may be a total French faux pas. While it’s obvious that the origins of the baguette and champagne are obviously and unapologetically French, the origin of the burger may not be so cut and dry. According to Wikipedia, “The exact origin of the hamburger may never be known with any certainty. Most historians believe that it was invented by a cook who placed a Hamburg steak between two slices of bread in a small town in Texas, and others credit the founder of White Castle for developing the "Hamburger Sandwich."


This proposal, however, would not only extend to meat, but also to soy & tofu products marketed as “milk” or “butter”. Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International, said: "It’s a shame that instead of embracing vegan and vegetarian food, France has adopted a position of defensive paranoia. But ultimately it won’t stop the rise of compassionate eating because the delicious, nutritious, Earth-friendly and ethical benefits will prevail regardless of what you call the products.”

We hope you've enjoyed learning about What's In A Label! Do you think this move by the Académie française is an effective measure or a waste of time? Join the conversation below!