New Zealand member of Parliament (MP) Winston Peters recently expressed his concern over the labeling of non-animal products as “meat” and “milk.” Peters disparaged the terms “vegetarian steak,” “mock chicken,” and “vegetarian mince,” stating they are as misleading as counterfeit sports merchandise. “What’s at stake is the integrity of our meat exports that are worth over $6 billion,” Peters said. “We face increasing competition from producers who will not shy away from using meat-centric terms to describe meatless contents.” Peters also denounces the non-dairy sector, stating that soymilk and dairy-free cheese (which he finds to be “the most bizarre of all”) are “another threat to $11 billion worth of exports.” Last year, German minister of agriculture Christian Schmidt called for a ban on vegan “meat” labels, stating that “what is on it should also be in it.” More recently, a group of US congressmen from dairy-producing states proposed the Dairy Pride Act, arguing that plant-based milk is mislabeled, and therefore misleading to consumers. All of these actions are occurring during a global boom of cruelty-free products, particularly in New Zealand, Germany, and the United States—which indicates that government officials from across the world are feeling the squeeze of plant-based products on their bottom lines.
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