A federal inquiry has heard a proposal from farming and industry groups calling for labels of fake-meat products to remove all references to meat.
Organisations such as the National Farmers’ Federation said new food labelling regulations were needed for fake-meat products on supermarket shelves.
The federation’s chief executive Tony Mahar told the inquiry while he supported the growth of the plant-based protein industry, current labels which can include animals or names of meat on the front needed to change.
“We believe the current use of language on some products associated with meat and dairy products to be misleading,” he said.
“Plant-based proteins on the market using meat and dairy images and language when they contain none is unethical and confusing from a consumer’s point of view.”
The plant-based protein industry in Australia is estimated to be worth more than $100 million, and is expected to grow in coming years.
Mr Mahar said he wanted to see that industry grow, but not at the expense of another.
The federal inquiry is examining whether changes in food labelling laws were needed for products that taste like meat but do not contain meat.
While producers have called for the livestock industry to be protected, other groups have said the matter would be best handled by regulators without the need for federal oversight.
Many vegan-based groups told the inquiry consumers were more than capable of discerning the difference between plant-based meat and the real thing when at the supermarket.
The co-founder and managing director of No Meat May, Ryan Alexander, said the push by livestock groups to change labelling laws was driven by anti-competitiveness.
“It’s protecting one industry to give an advantage over another,” he said.