VICTORIA’S PEAK LIVESTOCK BODY urges industry and government to act immediately on the mislabeling of meat substitutes, to protect the livelihood of farmers and the expectations of consumers.
Last week, the Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock Council resolved 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.
“It’s 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” said Leonard Vallance, President of the Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock Group.
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 Victorian Farmers Federation wants to take this further in Australia and include ‘lab-grown protein’, sometimes referred to as ‘clean meat’, as a misleading product name.
This 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 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 calls for reinforcement of legislation, including tough labelling standards, to ensure that meat vocabulary is reserved for meat products derived from traditional, natural livestock production.