European Parliament members on Friday rejected a proposal to ban "meaty" words in relation to products that contain no meat, such as vegetarian burgers or vegetarian sausages.
The parliamentarians did, however, vote in favour of stricter labelling rules for dairy-like products.
The proposed amendment to the European Union's agriculture regulations would have meant that only products that contain meat can be referred to by terms including "steak," "sausage," "escalope," or "burger."
Farmers had pushed for the ban, claiming that the meat-like names could confuse consumers and harm agricultural companies.
But environmentalists vehemently oppose the legislation, arguing that it would deter consumers from eating vegetarian products.
While rejecting a ban of "meaty" names, the parliament voted in favour of tightening rules for non-dairy products.
Non-dairy products are already prohibited from taking dairy names: since 2017, designations like soy or almond "milk" are banned. The proposal foresees a tightening of restrictions, also banning descriptive words such as "a la," or "type," when referring to dairy-like products.
This proposal still needs to be negotiated with the European Commission and EU countries as part of a wider agricultural policy reform.
Results of the parliament's vote on the general agricultural reform package are expected to be announced on Friday evening.
Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero slammed the vote on dairy and meaty names as unnecessary.
"It’s disgraceful that the industrial farming lobby isn’t content with cornering billions in subsidies for destructive factory farming," he said.
"They’re now muddying the debate on farming reform with a pointless vote on food names – it’s pathetic that the Parliament wouldn’t even stand up to the industrial agriculture lobbyists on this," he said.