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 ACCC urged to review fake meat in crackdown
THE Australian Com- urged the ACCC to take Inquiry report, which “We look forward to However, the study sider or portray the wide the ordinary consumer
petition and Consumer Commission’s recently announced crackdown on businesses making misleading environ- mental and sustain- ability claims has trig- gered meat industry calls for closer scrutiny on the ‘fake meat’ sector.
more action, saying that if the regulator was serious about scrutinising organi- sations that overstate or mislead consumers about their environmental cre- dentials, the fake meat sector would be high on their target list.
agreed environmental and animal welfare statements being made for some fake meat products were con- cerning and failed to ac- knowledge the livestock sector’s commitment and substantial progress in improving environmental outcomes in Australia.
working with the Al- banese Government to deliver on its election commitment to ensure accurate and clear food labelling rules for manu- factured plant-based pro- tein products.”
overall found that few companies provided evi- dence or data to support their claims.
range of farming manage- ment practices utilised in the animal protein sector.
will understand the claim to mean.
Several groups raised concerns during last year’s Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Com- mittee inquiry into defi- nitions of meat over mar- keting claims made by plant-based protein man- ufacturers.
“Disappointingly, the ACCC has demonstrated a complete lack of ap- preciation of the label- ling and marketing issues surrounding plant-based substitutes, as was high- lighted throughout the recent senate inquiry pro- cess,” Mr McKillop said.
“With environmental concerns becoming a heightened priority for many Australians, con- sumers deserve robust truth in labelling regula- tions that ensure heavily processed manufactured plant-based proteins cannot peddle false or misleading environmental or sustainability claims.
These claims were un- substantiated and ignored work and investment by the industry to reduce its environmental footprint, leading to concerns the claims would lead to reputational loss for the livestock sector.
In its recent announce- ments, the ACCC said at least 200 company web- sites will be reviewed in a sweep for misleading environmental claims across a range of targeted sectors including energy, vehicles, household prod- ucts and appliances, food and drink packaging, cos- metics, clothing and foot- wear.
In an earlier statement, the ACCC also warned businesses that they need to be ready to substantiate any environmental or sus- tainability claims when marketing their goods and services.
Red Meat Advisory Council independent chair John McKillop has
“Our concerns about misinformation were validated by the Senate
In response, the ACCC provided, “Under the Australian Consumer Law businesses must not mislead or deceive con- sumers in their adver- tising or marketing.”
During the inquiry, RMAC questioned the ACCC’s lack of action to investigate misleading labelling of plant-based protein products, par- ticularly those that made unsubstantiated claims about health and envi- ronmental benefits, both in favour of plant-based foods and against the an- imal protein.
Broad terms such as ‘en- vironmentally friendly’, ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ have limited value and may mislead consumers, as they rarely provide enough information about what that exactly means in terms of the product or service consumers are considering purchasing.
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“Whether or not a particular claim is mis- leading requires consid- eration of the individual circumstances in each case, and the overall im- pression conveyed to con- sumers by the claim.” Inquiry heard multiple concerns
This was despite the ACCC having its own compliance and enforce- ment policy, which gave it the power to investigate a new or emerging market issue or where their action is likely to have an educa- tive or deterrent effect.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said, “As consumers become in- creasingly interested in purchasing sustain- able products, there are growing concerns that some businesses are falsely promoting their environmental or green credentials.”
“It is important that businesses can back up the claims they are making, whether through reliable scientific reports, transparent supply chain information, reputable third-party certification, or other forms of evi- dence,” Ms Rickard said.
In light of the issues raised during the inquiry, and the ACCC’s recently announced crackdowns on companies making misleading environ- mental claims, and was asked if the competition regulator believed manu- facturers of plant-based protein products were jus- tified in making claims of environmental superi- ority.
Livestock sector repre- sentatives also expressed frustration at what they viewed as dishonest and misrepresenting claims made in marketing of plant-based alternatives about the environmental impacts of livestock pro- duction.
The AFI stated it was in- cumbent on lawmakers to ensure any public claims made about a company’s or competitor’s products are truthful and accurate. The ACCC won’t hesi- tate to take enforcement action
“The ACCC won’t hesitate to take enforce- ment action where we see that consumers are being misled or deceived by green claims,” Ms Rickard said.
The committee’s final report in February noted that concerns were re- ceived about information found on the packaging of plant-based protein prod- ucts which was inaccurate or not supported by sound evidence.
“Misleading claims about products or services undermine consumer trust and confidence in the market.
“Where we have con- cerns, we will be asking businesses to substantiate their claims.”
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In particular, references were made to a study by the University of Mel- bourne, which found that plant-based protein com- panies made a range of claims about the benefits of their products, which included nutritional, envi- ronmental, animal welfare and food security claims.
The Australian Farm Institute also noted that some marketing language used by the plant-based protein sector portrayed animal proteins in a nega- tive manner, using mis- leading and inaccurate information.
Page 20 – Australian Pork Newspaper, November 2022
Generalised statements on environmental stew- ardship issues such as water-use and greenhouse gas emissions do not con-
RMAC independent chair John McKillop.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.
The NSW Farmers Pork Committee hosted a Pork Industry Forum in Young recently, with representatives from Australian Pork Limited on hand for an industry seminar, as well as the Pig Improvement Com- pany sharing on-farm experiences, followed by dinner and drinks kindly sponsored by APL.
“It had big ramifica- tions on NSW pig farms last year.
“My feeling was that all in the room enjoyed the information and the opportunity to catch up with fellow producers.”
NSW Farmers Pork Committee chair Edwina Beveridge said given the amount of water about, a reoccurrence of JEV was likely.
“Hopefully the forum will be a timely reminder for farmers to ensure they are up to date with the science around JEV.
The forum provided important information on controlling mosquitoes, methods for protecting pigs and a firsthand per- spective on dealing with JEV.
“In looking at claims we are concerned about what
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Edwina Beveridge, chair of the NSW Farmers Pork Committee.
JEV on agenda at Pork Forum
PORK producers are being urged to get on the front foot, with the region bracing for a second summer of Japa- nese encephalitis virus.
“It is important for pro- ducers to learn how to minimise the impacts of JEV on our farms,” Ms Beveridge said.
and process of JEV vac- cines for pigs, the pro- gress of the Standards and Guidelines review and other industry mat- ters of interest.
“NSW Farmers Pork Committee had a great forum in Young, with some in-depth conver- sations about what had been learnt from JEV, the difficulties of last summer and what we can do for this next mosquito season.
Outgoing chair Ean Pollard was thanked for his leadership over the past decade at the helm and significant contribu- tion to the NSW pig in- dustry.
“APL updated pro- ducers on the progress

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