NSW Nationals Senator Perin Davey has joined her colleagues in calling for honesty when it comes to fake ‘meat’.
Senator Davey said she supported the inquiry established by the Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, chaired by Queensland Nationals Senator Susan McDonald, to address the vexed issue of truth in labelling, with terms like “meat-free chicken” and “dairy-free milk” now commonplace on supermarket shelves.
The inquiry, initiated in response to complaints from the Australian red meat industry, will investigate if terms such as “meat-free mince”, “sausage made with plants” and “vegan bacon” pass muster.
“The fact is that meat comes from animals and milk comes from animals – you can’t just make highly-processed fakes and pass it off as healthy, farm-fresh food,” Senator Davey said.
“If people want a soy latte or a tofu burger that’s fine – that’s their choice – but when it comes to plant-based or synthetic proteins, we can’t have people thinking these highly-processed products are natural, healthy and clean.
“Australian meat, eggs and dairy from animals have a great reputation, and I don’t think it’s fair that these plant-based protein processors get to trade off that reputation.
“The growth of plant-based protein products is not the issue, but the growth in the number of these products being labelled as meat is.
“Talking about chicken-free chicken is like talking about a Toyota-free Landcruiser or thought-free thinking.
“Our Party Room has been talking about truth in labelling for a while now and this committee will give us a chance to hear from everyone,” Senator Davey said.
“This is about protecting the integrity and reputation of our world-class produce.”
Senator McDonald, a former butcher-shop owner, had beef with vegan products using meat terms on their packaging and it is up to makers of non-meat products to come up with their own distinct terms, instead of trading off long-established names of animal proteins.