When is a sausage not a sausage?

In response to a recent post on AgForce’s Facebook page about Senator Susan McDonald launching a Senate Inquiry into food labelling laws, a ‘concerned citizen’ (obviously not a meat lover) attempted to teach visitors to the page about the origins of the humble sausage, and bacon, and mince.

“The word sausage comes from the French ‘saussiche,'” he told us.

“Which in turn comes from the Latin ‘salsicus’ meaning seasoned with salt.”

“That is a long-established name going back over 1000 years…You are trying to impose your own views (on) long-established names that have nothing to do with animal protein.”

However, it turns out ‘concerned citizen’, or vegan activist, or ag-industry hater – whatever you want to call him – was wrong.

If he had done as I did (and I suspect that he had and just left out the bits he didn’t like) and performed a simple online search, he would have discovered that the salt in the ‘saussiche’ was used to preserve tissues and organ meats, then stuffed into tubular casings made from the cleaned intestines of the animal.

He was clearly upset, this ‘citizen’, about the post, or perhaps other people’s comments questioning why plant-based protein products want to be associated with meat anyway – I’m not really sure.

But it highlighted for me the battle ag is continually waging – against half-truths and flawed science, from people and organisations (even sometimes governments) seemingly threatened by an industry almost as old as time.

Senator McDonald has pointed out that, “There are intellectual property issues, and in our export legislation we have clear definitions of meat being the product of an animal, but there are gaps domestically.”

While Red Meat Advisory Council chairman John McKillop said, “It is a national disgrace that highly processed plant-based protein made from imported ingredients are allowed to be labelled as Australian meat.”

AgForce’s view is that we need a regulatory approach, especially given the risks to industry and nonsense by some anti-industry people (see ‘concerned citizen’ above as exhibit A) to date.

Put simply, we are about truth in labelling – period. 

There is no such thing as a beefless patty or sausage, they are soy patties and soy sausages and should be labelled as such.

If you can’t sell wheat as barley, you shouldn’t be allowed to sell soy as beef, or beefless. 

By all means eat food produced in a lab instead of grown in the paddock if you want to, because you feel guilty, because you believe it’s healthier or more environmentally friendly, when it isn’t.

But don’t you dare try calling a sausage a sausage when it isn’t – that’s taking things too far in my book.

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