A Senate inquiry into meat definitions has delivered its report, with several recommendations to empower consumers to make informed choices on the foods they eat.

Cattle Council of Australia welcomed the recommendations that if adopted, would lead to greater transparency in food labelling and increased consumer knowledge on the products they choose.

Cattle Council of Australia President, Markus Rathsmann said the cattle industry supports efforts to improve the accuracy of labelling and that Australian consumers should have enough information to make informed choices about the food they purchase and consume.

“There’s nothing wrong with plant-based food, but you must respect the consumer and be transparent about what you’re selling them,” Mr Rathsmann said.

“Labelling enables differentiation of products made with genuine Australian beef from those manufactured using plant-based or synthetic proteins.

“We’ve spent decades building a reputation for high-quality nutritious, sustainably produced food that deliver on health and nutrition expectations.”

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport legislation Committee Inquiry meat definitions and other animal products made a range of recommendations, including:

  • A mandatory regulatory framework for the labelling of plant-based protein products.
  • Food Standards Australia NZ review relevant sections of the FSANZ Code to ensure alternative proteins are appropriately labelled.
  • The ACCC develops a National Information Standard that defines and restricts the use of meat category brands to animal protein products, including guidance on the use of livestock imagery for labelling and marketing of plant-based protein products.

“Such changes would gear Australian food labelling for a modern protein market,” Mr Rathsmann said.

“It should be easy to buy the products you want to buy, without having to check the product really is what it says it is.

“I call on the Federal Government to move swiftly on the recommendations of this report.

“I thank Senator Susan McDonald for her leading role in this inquiry and championing the interests of Australian beef producers and consumers.

“I also thank RMAC, the National Farmers Federation and numerous other industry bodies that have worked hard to achieve this result.”

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