Hoping to attract vegetarians

Berlin (dpa) – Restaurants in Germany hoping to attract the burgeoning numbers of vegans and vegetarians with temptations such as vegetarian schnitzel, tofu kebab and vegan sausage could soon be in for a shock.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt wants to ban all meat names for vegetarian and vegan food in the future.

No one should be allowed to "pretend these pseudo-meat dishes are meat," Schmidt told the daily Bild on Wednesday.

Germany might have a reputation as a meat loving country, but it also has one of the highest rates of vegetarianism in Europe, with vegan food having emerged as a major new restaurant trend.

But Schmidt said using the names of meat dishes to describe meatless food was "completely misleading and confusing to consumers."

He told Bild he was committed to having a ban on these products.

It is not the first time that the minister has taken aim at so-called veggie products, recently declaring: "What is written on it must also be in it."

Schmidt is also not alone among Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in targeting vegan and vegetarian cooking.

Members of Merkel's Christian Democrats in the key agriculture state of Lower Saxony are also demanding that non-meat dishes should no longer be described as sausage, schnitzel or rissoles.