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Australia Is a sausage a sausage without the meat? Senate to investigate 'fake meat' labelling laws

05:50  16 june  2021
05:50  16 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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a close up of a sandwich: It is not the first time the Nationals have gone after plant-based food labels. (Flickr: Alpha) © Provided by ABC Business It is not the first time the Nationals have gone after plant-based food labels. (Flickr: Alpha)

Should a sausage be called a sausage if it is not made out of meat? Is a burger a burger without the beef?

These are questions a Senate inquiry is set to investigate as it probes the labelling of non-animal proteins across the meat and dairy industries.

The inquiry has been announced by Queensland Nationals senator and former butcher Susan McDonald.

"The industry invests hundreds of millions of dollars each year to develop and enhance the intellectual property and benefits of red meat in Australia, and it's important that these investments are protected," Senator McDonald said.

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It is not the first time the Nationals have gone after plant-based food labels, with milk alternatives also coming under scrutiny in recent years.

'Not healthy'

Clare Collins, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle, said it was a food safety issue that needed to be addressed, with fake meats not always healthy alternatives.

"I think now is really the time for physicians and the scientific community to push back on this," she said.

Professor Collins said it was difficult for consumers who might think a plant-based alternative was healthy when in fact it was ultra-processed.

"We've had meat alternatives previously; there are lots of them that are not ultra-processed — you know, good ol' beans in a can," she said.

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"My concern is that the marketing savvy and turning it into an ultra-processed ready-to-grab-off-the-shelf food is what is going to confuse people.

"Some of those items are high in added saturated fat and added salt."

She said she also wanted to see clear regulation about pre-processing ingredients being included on labels, but that it should be left up to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

"They're the regulatory authority around the safety and composition of our food, so you would think they'd be leading with any sort of comments in regard to that."

Labelling laws are developed by FSANZ and enforced by state and territory departments, agencies and local councils, as well as the federal agriculture department.

Industry hits back

The Alternative Proteins Council (APC) said in a statement that it was disappointed at the announcement of an inquiry.

"The terms of the inquiry are framed in a way that stokes a false narrative that emerging protein sectors in Australia are somehow impairing conventional protein sectors, based on branding.

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"Framing new protein industries as a threat to conventional ones is patently wrong and does a disservice to the thousands of Australian farmers and regional communities who stand to benefit from the growth of the plant-based protein sector."

The APC also said plant-based meats were a growing food category in response to rising demand from consumers, including those motivated to improve their health.

"The APC is confident that an evidenced-based nutritional analysis of plant-based meat alternatives, when compared like for like with the conventional meat sausages, burgers and bacon to which they are an alternative, will reveal plant-based meat products are on average nutritionally comparable or superior."


Gallery: Great baking alternatives you should know about (Espresso)

For another vegan-friendly egg substitute, mix 1 tablespoon (10 g) of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of water and let it thicken for about 5-15 minutes before using in recipes for muffins, cakes, and cookies. Chia seeds bump up the fibre and omega-3 content of any recipe.

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This is interesting!