Meat & Livestock News

Government’s Delay on Meat Labelling Recommendations Draws Criticism

Packed pieces of pork and beef meat, close up

Last year, a senate inquiry strongly recommended the implementation of mandatory meat labelling laws. This recommendation garnered support from both the Government and opposition Senators. However, the Federal Department of Agriculture is now revisiting the issue, seeking further opinions from the industry.

Adam Coffey, the interim CEO of Cattle Australia, has urged the Albanese Government to respect consumer rights by adhering to the 2022 senate inquiry’s suggestions.

These suggestions aim to enhance labelling regulations, ensuring a clear distinction between genuine meat and plant-based alternatives. Coffey highlighted concerns over some alternative protein manufacturers leveraging Australia’s esteemed meat standards for their benefit.

He stated, “Consumers should be able to eat the food they think they’re buying.”

In February 2022, Senator Susan McDonald chaired an extensive Senate inquiry. The inquiry proposed that laws should exclusively reserve animal images and terms like ‘beef’ or ‘veal’ for authentic meat products.

Despite receiving unanimous support from major Parliamentary parties, the Government’s progress in implementing these recommendations has been notably slow. 

Despite the exhaustive discussions during the inquiry, the Department has recently released a document seeking updated views on the labelling issue. The document mentions the complexity of the matter and the diverse opinions surrounding it.

Coffey emphasised the importance of integrity in food labelling, ensuring consumers are well-informed about their purchases. He believes that consumers shouldn’t be required to scrutinise the fine print to ascertain if they’re purchasing beef.

Coffey further added, “Australia’s beef industry has spent decades building community trust as a healthy, clean, ethical, and sustainable option.” He urged the government to act swiftly, emphasising that the Senate inquiry had already laid the groundwork.