VICTORIAN farmers want to follow the French in outlawing the labelling of artificially manufactured protein products as ‘meat’ or meat by-products.
Last week, the Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock Council voted to support peak industry bodies and government in reinforcing legislation to ensure that meat vocabulary is reserved for protein products derived from the traditional and natural husbandry and slaughter of livestock.
The VFF wants industry and government to act immediately on the mislabelling of meat substitutes, to protect the livelihood of farmers and the expectations of consumers.
Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance said it was unacceptable to mislead consumers by exploiting meat vocabulary when marketing a product that is not derived from traditional livestock production.
“Livestock farmers have a right to protect the sovereignty of meat production, a tradition that goes back to the dawn of time.”
In France earlier this year, a legislative amendment was tabled to address certain commercial practices misleading for the consumer. These practices associated terms such as ‘steak’, ‘fillet’, ‘bacon’ and ‘sausage’ with alternative protein products that are not solely, or not at all, composed of meat.
The VFF wants to take this further in Australia and include ‘lab-grown protein’, sometimes referred to as ‘clean meat’, as a misleading product name.
The VFF believes the new product does not align with consumer expectations of a naturally grown product, and the misleading name creates a disconnect between farmers and consumers. It is important that consumers know where food comes from and can trust food labels, the federation said.
“The discussion of whether or not lab-grown protein has a place in society is irrelevant; we need to protect our relationship with consumers”, Mr Vallance said.
The VFF will call for reinforcement of legislation, including tough labelling standards, to ensure that meat vocabulary is reserved for meat products derived from traditional, natural livestock production.
Click here to read the Beef Central story ‘Should lab grown meat be labelled as meat when it’s available for sale?
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