A Katherine-based cattle export company says government regulations must be tightened to stop the use of the word 'beef' being used by producers or plant-based of synthetic food products.
A number of NT stakeholders, including Dr Rebecca Mohr-Bell on behalf of Pancho Beef, gave evidence at a hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the Definitions of Meat and Other Animal Products on Tuesday September 7.
In a submission tabled in the senate, Dr Mohr-Bell said synthetic or plant-based products need to "clearly distinguish themselves" from red meat.
"Our product has unique nutritional and taste characteristics which have been carefully cultivated over generations of careful breeding, research and development," the submission reads.
"These characteristics belong to beef solely and other food products should not be allowed to 'get a free ride' on these decades of research, investment and hard work.
"I have no problem with plant based products as such, however if they are so good they should be able to develop their own names and branding that clearly distinguish themselves from red meat."
Dr Mohr-Bell said current regulations around the labelling of plant-based products are not strict enough.
"The labelling requirements for plant based products are not clear and concise enough to provide consumers with adequate and accurate information about what they are consuming," the submission reads.
NT Cattlemen's Association President David Connolly said the use of the terms 'meat' and 'beef' on synthetic or plant-based products "diminishes" beef's brand.
"Where companies, such as those who are producing these plant-based 'beef' products, act cynically and perpetuate falsehoods and misrepresentations, the case for government intervention is warranted," Mr Connelly said via his tabled submission.
"The integrity of our industry underpins strong domestic and international demand for Australian beef. This integrity must not be undermined by those who seek to diminish us and our contributions - all while profiting off our reputation."
The inquiry continues.
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