Vegans label meat inquiry “protectionist and anti-competitive”

Eric Barker, 17/09/2021

VEGAN groups have told a senate committee its inquiry into the labelling of plant-based meat alternatives is a “protectionist and anti-competitive” move against the growing industry.

Four vegan organisations appeared before the Definitions of Meat and Other Animal Products Inquiry via video link this morning after it heard from the meat industry yesterday.

No Meat May, Vegan Australia, Australian Vegans and Vegan New South Wales all put forward their cases supporting the use of terms like “meat” for alternative protein.

But the motivation of holding the inquiry was questioned by Vegan NSW CEO Michelle Gravolin who said there was no issues with current labelling.

“The current plant-based labels are clear because it’s in the industry interest to ensure they are clear, that is how they reach their target market,” Ms Gravolin said.

“Instead of engaging in this protectionist and anti-competitive attack, the animal use industries should look for alternative and more sustainable land-use options.”

Tasmanian Greens Senator and committee member Peter Whish-Wilson followed Ms Gravolin’s comments with a question to the other groups asking what they thought the inquiry’s motivations were.

No Meat May co-founder Ryan Alexander. Source: No Meat May Facebook

“It seems like protectionism or anti-competitive because to our knowledge there is no confusion in labelling,” co-founder of No Meat May Ryan Alexender said.

“It looks like we’re trying to protect one industry and give them an advantage over another”

Wanting “taste and texture” of meat

As its name suggests, No Meat May is a registered charity which challenges people to eliminate meat from their diets for 31 days – citing health, environment, animals, and food security as motivation.

Mr Alexander said the initiative had been doubling in size each year since it started in 2013, mostly from people transitioning their diets away from meat.

“Many of our participants still enjoy the taste and texture of meat – however they are motivated to change their habits for a range of other reasons,” he said.

“Health is the number one reason that people are citing.”

Mr Alexander said the use of terms like “meat” on plant-based protein labels were the best descriptors for the taste and texture of the items.

“They are asking us for beef-free products that taste like beef,” he said.

“Consumers rely on the reference to animal flesh or animal products when seeking alternatives just like we rely on the reference to gluten when we are seeking gulten-free products.”










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  1. David, 18/09/2021

    Maybe I could build a car out of bamboo and call it a Ferrari, or start a political party and call it “The Green Party”. I am quite happy for them to support food made from vegetable matter, but don’t call it meat, beef or lamb. Maybe call it” Wacky Patties”.

  2. Paul+Wood, 17/09/2021

    The big lie to consumers is not that it is real beef, it’s that they claim these products to be as nutritious as beef which they are not. There is also no standard for what goes into a plant based product so no two products are the same.

  3. Matthew Della Gola, 17/09/2021

    Just so im clear we have “vegan terrorists” who in the majority want to end livestock production to fix the planet and because they are “vegan” they dont consume certain products and at the same time the very products they are telling us are contributors to environmental degradation and global warming. They are now shouting from a Mountain of hypocrisy that the very product they despise should be allowed on their labelling to market products which arent. Now if my head hurts from this leftist socialist utopian idealism i bet there is a vast majority with the same migraine. Cheers Matt Della Gola

  4. Garry James Gillett, 17/09/2021

    The loonies are out.

  5. Robert, 17/09/2021

    Its artificial meat, that’s the best clear description, because it can never be meat & not intended to be meat , so let’s not confuse everyone with terminology like plant based meat, cattle and sheep are vegetarians and also plant based.

    The term Plant based doesn’t infer that there is no actual meat, meat flavourings or that it is meat free.

    Ask a meat processor about meat terminology it is a very sensitive and exact science, right down to how many incision teeth there are and any sign of sexual characteristics.

    The intended market it not vegans it’s normal people that like eating meat and are comfortable with the deep relationship between animals and humans that has existed since the beginning of time.

    That is why the terminology deliberately tries to blur the line.

    Artificial meat is very clear and should be front and centre on all packaging.

    • Paul+D.+Butler, 17/09/2021

      It is NOT meat in any way shape or form……… Calling lab slime “meat” even with qualifiers is advertising and labeling fraud.

      • DavidPlumb, 18/09/2021

        The issue of cell culture is quite different to plant derived products.
        Once the cells can be grown and the product given various flavour enhancements the argument about source will be vital for marketing.
        Ensuring that the legal definitions are set correctly in this debate are crucial – meat should be defined as being derived from a mammal or animal which has been sentient.
        As readers can understand from the article the vegetable consuming activists are well equipped to use unusual arguments to try and blur the understanding consumers will get from product labelling.

  6. Pat Westland, 17/09/2021

    When getting shopping done in a hurry I have bought ‘seafood’ because it was labelled ‘scallops’, and ‘chicken burgers’.
    Neither tasted anything like the true product, and considering I love veges, pakora, felafel etc no one can say I’m biased!

    • Jane, 23/09/2021

      I have also grabbed gluten free biscuits by accident because I was careless and didn’t read the packaging properly, does this mean they should call the biscuits something else so there can be no confusion or that maybe I should be more careful when making purchases regardless of how busy I am?

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