Et tu, Italy? Country drafts “misleading and backwards” law to restrict plant-based meat labels

 

ProVeg urges Italy to reject bill and actively promote plant-based meats instead

 

Global food awareness organisation, ProVeg International, has today described as “misleading and backwards” a Bill introduced into the Italian Parliament which seeks to prevent plant-based meats from using “meaty” names.

“Plant-based foods emit half the amount of greenhouse gases as animal-based foods ((Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods | Nature Food)) so we need to introduce policies that actively encourage people to switch to more flexitarian diets,” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International, said.

“This bill, which seeks to restrict labelling of plant-based meat alternatives, is taking a step backwards in the fight to tackle climate change. We urge the Italian government to reject it accordingly,” de Boo added.

The introduction of the Bill in Italy follows attempts by the regulators and the animal agriculture industry elsewhere around the world – including France, Belgium and Czechia – to restrict plant-based meat and dairy labelling as alternatives continue to grow in popularity and market share. 

The bill notes that it is, first of all, an attempt to protect livestock production in the country, even though animal agriculture is responsible for about 20% of greenhouse gas emission globally((Xu, X., P. Sharma, S. Shu, et al. (2021): Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods. Nature Food 2(9), 724–732. doi:10.1038/s43016-021-00358-x)).

“Italian consumers are introducing more plant-based foods in their diets, many of them for environmental reasons. This proposal is an attempt to slow the growth of this market and derail the EU plans for a sustainable food system,” Claudio Pomo, head of development at Italian organisation Essere Animali, said.

“We will engage and mobilise consumers and members of the public in order to prevent this from happening,” Pomo added.

Nutritional concerns

But the bill also argues that consumers could be confused about the nutritional value of plant-based meat alternatives compared to conventional meat, if meaty names are used for the alternative plant products.

“This argument is misleading, partly because plant-based alternatives are nutritious and have less cholesterol than conventional meat products, but also because they have a number of other advantages over conventional meat products,” de Boo notes.

Plant-based meat alternatives can be healthier((Plant-based meat lowers some cardiovascular risk factors compared with red meat, study finds | News Center | Stanford Medicine))((Plant-based animal product alternatives are healthier and more environmentally sustainable than animal products – ScienceDirect))((Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Three Large Prospective U.S. Cohort Studies | Diabetes Care | American Diabetes Association (diabetesjournals.org))), than animal-based foods for a number of  other reasons, as they tend to contain: 

  • zero cholesterol
  • more complex carbohydrates
  • healthy fibre (beef, chicken, pork, and seafood have no fibre at all)
  • no antibiotic residues
  • no hormones
  • no heavy metals
  • no pathogenic bacteria or viruses.

In addition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already declared in 2015 that processed red meat is carcinogenic and that red meat is possibly carcinogenic, based on more than 800 studies. 

In general, ProVeg advocates for a more plant rich diet, a significant reduction in animal consumption, and a substantial transformation of the food system. ProVeg is also encouraging more countries to promote more plant-based foods in their dietary guidelines

Plant-based meat alternatives not only offer consumers a way of replacing the meat burger on their plate, they also create a whole new category that aims to tackle, among other things, the effect of animal agriculture on the environment whilst providing a product with the same taste and texture.

The ideal plant-based diet is one rich in grains, legumes, nuts, and vegetables, with plant-based alternatives to meat dishes adding taste, health, and sustainability benefits. This approach makes a plant-based diet simply unbeatable!

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected]

About ProVeg International

ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.

 

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