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Plant-Based Products Could Be Banned From Using Words Such As ‘Chicken’ and ‘Beef’

Plant-Based Products Could Be Banned From Using Words Such As ‘Chicken’ and ‘Beef’

​A Senate inquiry has recommended an overhaul in the labelling and marketing of plant-based products.

Vivienne Kelly

Vivienne Kelly

A Senate inquiry has recommended an overhaul in the labelling and marketing of plant-based products.

The move would see plant-based 'meats' recategorised, and unable to draw on words such as 'beef' and 'chicken'.

They would also be barred from using images of animals on packaging.

In addition, the inquiry suggested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) look into whether plant proteins are placed 'too close' to animal proteins in store.

The inquiry also put forward that lab-grown meat should be subject to regulatory review.

The Senate inquiry has been running since June last year and is investigating the labelling of non-animal proteins in the meat and dairy sectors.

National Senator Susan McDonald has been leading the inquiry.

She said the inquiry, and its nine recommendations, was absolutely not an attack on the industry, vegans or vegetarians.

"Australian pulse and veggie farmers can tap into the plant-protein market, so it makes no sense for people to frame this inquiry as somehow wanting to cripple that industry or attack vegans and vegetarians," she said.

Senator Susan McDonald/ Facebook

"All we're suggesting is that, like margarine makers did by choosing a name that didn't contain butter, plant protein makers come up with ways to promote their products without trading on animal names and imagery."

Rather than an attack on any one lifestyle or diet, McDonald said the measures were necessary to protect consumers.

"Consumers say they are confused by plant products featuring names like 'chicken', 'beef' or 'prawns' with pictures of those animals on the packaging and the words 'plant based' or 'meat free' printed in much smaller letters," she said.

"This is especially true for people with impaired sight, who are dyslexic, who have English as a second language, or who have a disability."

The Australian Greens hit out at the report, and questioned the validity of the inquiry, asking whether it was an appropriate use of public service time, resources and money.

"Throughout the course of the inquiry, no reliable quantitative evidence was presented that demonstrates a systemic problem with the current labelling of plant-based products," Senator Peter Whish-Wilson - who was a member of the inquiry - said.

The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), however, welcomed the report.

Lab-grown beef
Lab-grown beef

Chair John McKillop said the recommendations, if adopted, would 'restore truth in labelling'.

"By concluding that the current regulatory framework for the labelling of plant-based protein products is inadequate and decisive action is needed, the committee supports the protection of consumers, as well as the brand and reputation of traditional animal proteins like beef, lamb and goat,"he said.

"The recommendations vindicate industry's long-held view that minimum regulated standards are required to prohibit plant-protein product manufacturers from referencing traditional animal proteins like beef, lamb and goat, and using livestock images on plant-protein packaging or marketing materials."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Vegan, Food & Drink, Australia