The adoption of tighter regulations around plant-based and cultured proteins, such as veggie burgers, has jumped up the political agenda in Australia.

The Canberra administration is to consider introducing legislation to clearly determine how plant-based and cultured proteins can be defined, marketed and positioned in retail outlets relative to animal protein-based foods.

The political pressure for action followed publication of an Australian parliamentary committee report, which specifically recommended the development of a mandatory regulatory framework for the labelling of plant-based protein products and cultured meat goods.

In addition, the report called on Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission to review the placement of plant-based protein products in retailers’ stores and online platforms.

Information standard

In a further move, the report suggested that the competition commission should develop a national information standard for Australia that defines and restricts the use of meat category brands to animal protein products.

The report, entitled Don’t mince your words, investigated what it described as the “blurring of lines” between genuine animal-based food products and plant-based or cultured alternatives.

The Australian meat industry, like its counterparts around the world, has expressed reservations over time around the potential economic impact of plant-based operators using meat terminology.


The Australian meat industry has complained that the use of meat terminology by plant-based protein producers has effectively enabled these corporations to unfairly benefit from the branding, quality assurance and trust which traditional meat companies have built with consumers over decades.

Commenting on developments in Australia, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) president Pat McCormack said that the use of terms such as sausages or burgers for plant-based or cultured foods was a cynical attempt by corporations to "camouflage" the provenance of their products.

“These so-called ‘alternatives’ will have to gain the trust of consumers on their own merits and cannot piggy-back on the trust and confidence gained over millennia by real meat and dairy products,” said McCormack.