Here we go again…
Today, the Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie of the National Party will “ask a food regulation forum to back her bid to have Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) review terminology and crack down on imitation and so-called fake foods“. Fake foods as opposed to, what, real foods?
Laws are taking hold in France and Missouri, USA, which restrict the use of labels such as ‘meat’ and ‘milk’ to describe plant-based foods, even when they are clearly labelled as plant-based. For example, no more ‘plant-based meat’ or ‘soy milk’.
I’ve written about this before, and I’m frustrated that I need to write about it again. Apparently Australian Federal Government ministers don’t read my blog, because if they did, they’d surely see how their argument doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Let me go through a few key points in response.
“[Senator McKenzie] said farmers feared their businesses were at risk because shoppers often did not realise they were buying plant-based products, rather than products from animals.”
The products are very clearly labelled as plant-based. Below is a picture of the plant-based mince available in Australia that kicked up a fuss earlier in the year. For Senator McKenzie or farmers to suggest that a consumer might get confused and accidentally buy this instead of meat from an animal is an insult to their intelligence.
Senator McKenzie is also missing the point. People are buying these products not because they are confused, but because they are concerned about their health, the environment, and the suffering of innocent non-humans.
“[Senator McKenzie] said as an increasing number of consumers were not eating animal products because of allergies or philosophical beliefs, “that’s their decision but we need to be careful [we] don’t confuse the marketplace and we still protect the reputation, hard earned by our clean, green farmers”.”
Somewhere along the way we seem to have romanticised animal farmers – they can do no wrong. What exactly do you mean by clean and green, Senator McKenzie? Clean as in lack of disease and animal suffering? To dissuade you of this notion which I am sure you have zero risk of being biased in, please watch this recently released documentary which shows exactly how animals are being farmed in Australia.
Green, as in animal agriculture being one of the leading causes of anthropogenic global warming? This UN report is over a decade old but has gone largely unnoticed by governments and traditional environmental charities.
“Federal National Party politicians have been vocal critics of plant-based protein products being labelled as mince.”
This is the most ridiculous claim out of them all. The word ‘mince’ refers to the production process, not what the product is made from. To mince means ‘to cut up into very small pieces’. One can mince plants just as they can mince animal products. The fact that the National Party has been comfortable with the existence of fruit mince pies for years and have made no comment on them recently reveals their true motive.
Please sign the petition here to demand that such a law is never passed in Australia.