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Portugal introduces leather identity legislation

Claiming that a product is made from non-animal ‘leather’ is now illegal in a number of European countries.

Image © perfectlab |

Portugal has joined the list of European Union countries which legally enforce a specific definition of genuine leather. The country’s new law includes rules outlining how leather should be authenticated and when the term ‘leather’ is permitted to be used. Accordingly, companies such as material manufacturers, brand owners and retailers must not use the word ‘leather’ alongside any qualifiers, prefixes or suffixes that are deemed to contradict the ‘intrinsic nature’ of leather.

The use of such terms as ‘artificial’, ‘cactus’, ‘faux’, ‘mushroom’, ‘PU’, ‘synthetic’ or ‘vegan’ in combination with the word ‘leather’ will now be viewed as a ‘deceptive practice’ by the Portuguese authorities. Companies ignoring this statute will face legal consequences, which may include criminal prosecution and subsequent fines.

According to COTANCE – the leather industry’s representative body in the European Union – this legislation aims to protect consumers by helping them to make informed choices based on product information that is both correct and truthful. Portugal has followed Belgium, France, Italy and Spain by introducing national legislation relating to this issue, and a number of other countries in Europe are reportedly also working towards the same goal.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 2 of the February 2022 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

Other articles from this issue »