Why plant-based product names has the Department of Agriculture up in arms

John Maytham speaks to attorney and partner at Hahn & Hahn Attorneys, Janusz Luterek, about the Department of Agriculture's problem with the potential confusion over plant-based product names.

The Department of Agriculture has beef with a potentially fishy situation that they won't chicken out of.

This revolves around the confusion that plant-based and vegetarian meat substitutes like vegan biltong, plant-based meatballs, and vegan nuggets may cause in relation to the labeling of processed meats.

Though it seems a little bizarre that vegans and vegetarians alike have renounced meat but still eat meat-resembling products, attorney and partner at Hahn & Hahn Attorneys, Janusz Luterek, says that the department's naming issues have gone too far.

Although their mandate is product integrity, [the department] has gone too far... if one simply looks at the Oxford dictionary or the Merriam-Webster, you'll see a lot of these words actually are shape definitions. They define a form of a product, rather than its contents.

Janusz Luterek, Attorney and partner - Hahn & Hahn Attorneys

Luterek says although labeling things as plant-based might leave the door open to interpretation due to products not necessarily needing to be 100% plant, government should return to plans for plant-based products to have their own set of regulations.

The more obvious [solution] is what they said they're going to do, which is bring out specific regulations. Just like there are processed meat regulations, they were going to bring out what they called meat analogue regulations. So, they were actually going to regulate these products in their own custom regulation in which the allowed names were going to be defined.

Janusz Luterek, Attorney and partner - Hahn & Hahn Attorneys

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