APL has welcomed the findings of the report by the Commonwealth Senate Inquiry into meat definitions and other animal products, handed down yesterday (24 February) in Parliament.

After comprehensively reviewing all the available evidence, the Committee, Chaired by Queensland Senator Susan McDonald agreed that the current regulatory framework for the labelling of plant-based protein products is inadequate.

The committee also agreed action is needed to protect consumers, as well as the brand and reputation of animal proteins like ‘pork, ‘beef and ‘lamb’.

APL CEO Margo Andrae praised the Committee for their clear recommendations. “APL continues to support all Australian agriculture, but it is important consumers have a labelling system that clearly identifies the raw ingredients, and whether they are home grown or imported.”

“The Australian pork industry is worth $5.2billion and employs over 36,000 people nationwide. Our producers adhere to some of the strictest standards in the world for biosecurity, animal welfare and, food safety. We want these producers to have a fair playing field, and for consumers to be clear on their choice when selecting their proteins,” Ms Andrae said.

The Committee concluded that Australian families are being deceived by misleading labels and descriptions used by plant-based companies. The report recommends minimum regulated standards to prohibit plant protein manufacturers from referencing traditional animal protein names and imagery of animals on pack and in marketing material.

Ms Andrae addressed the Inquiry’s public hearing in September 2021, stating that clear definitions of meat were needed to strengthen existing truth in labelling efforts.

Key amongst the nine recommendations of the report, which align to recommendations put forward by APL and other industry bodies, are:

  • The Australian Government develop a mandatory regulatory framework for the labelling of plant-based protein products
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand initiate a review of section 1.1.1—13 (4) of the FSANZ Code and recommends exempting its application to named meat, seafood, and dairy category brands
  • The ACCC develops a National Information Standard that defines and restricts the use of meat category brands to animal protein products. This standard should include guidance on the use of livestock imagery for labelling and marketing of plant-based protein products

“Truth in labelling ensures Australians aren’t inadvertently misled at the point of purchase. But it also means all proteins on our shelves meet the same significant compliance standards that the meat and dairy sectors currently adhere to.”

“The bottom line is Australian consumers should be able to make informed purchasing decisions when purchasing quality food products they love and trust."

“We look forward to supporting government and industry on the process moving forward,” Ms Andrae said.

The full report and list of recommendations are available here.