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SA’s biggest plant-based companies hit back at regulations to ban ‘meat’ terms on plant-based alternatives

SA’s biggest plant-based companies hit back at latest regulations by the government that they should ban ‘meat’ terms on plant-based meat alternatives. Picture: Supplied

SA’s biggest plant-based companies hit back at latest regulations by the government that they should ban ‘meat’ terms on plant-based meat alternatives. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 24, 2022

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Earlier this week the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in South Africa issued a statement noting that it will be imposing a ban on ‘meaty’ names for plant-based meat alternatives.

DALRRD said it has come to their attention that various meat analogues are presented for sale on the local market using the product names prescribed for processed meat products.

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The department said names such as “nuggets”, “vegetarian sausages”, “ribs”, and “chicken-style” are “prescribed and reserved for processed meat products” and must not be used by plant-based producers, and that the Food Safety Agency would seize any plant-based products using the terms.

Fry's chicken nuggets. Picture: Supplied

“The classification, packing, and the making of processed meat products intended for sale in the Republic of South Africa are currently regulated in terms of Regulation No.R.1283 dated 04 October 2019.

‘In terms of the said regulation, “processed meat” is defined as meat that has undergone any action that substantially altered its original state (including, but not limited to, heating, smoking, curing, fermenting, maturing, drying, marinating, extraction or extrusion or any combination of all these processes) but excludes raw processed meat,” they said in a statement.

The move has been condemned by Fry Family Foods and ProVeg South Africa.

ProVeg South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Co-founder of Fry Family Foods Tammy Fry said their products were created to help consumers transition from animal-based meat to plant-based meat by providing a range of products that offer the same taste and texture as meat but are made from plant protein.

Fry said Fry's founder, Wally Fry, pioneered the plant protein industry in South Africa in order to provide consumers with a more sustainable way to feed their families and the naming conventions are a large part of helping consumers understand how to use their products.

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“We feel strongly that if we cannot use ‘meat’ names it will create confusion for consumers.

“We, along with other members of the industry, are seeking clarity to understand the objective of the regulation to best serve South African consumers,” she said.

Country director at ProVeg South Africa Donovan Will said this is a huge step backward in the government’s fight against climate change.

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Donovan said regulation such as this is exactly what they don’t need when the world’s scientists are telling us we urgently need to reduce our meat consumption to help break dangerous global warming.

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