Nats name labelling laws "number one" issue in food regulation.

The Nationals are reacting to the rise of plant-based meat replacements by pushing for food labelling law reform.

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said her party would act to stop vegetarian meat-and-protein replacements "trading off the health and nutritional benefits milk and milk products".

The policy is a new one for the Nationals. It was endorsed on the weekend at the party's federal council, when members voted in a motion that called on federal government to "reform the labelling requirements for non-animal related 'milk' products by removing the term 'milk'".

Senator McKenzie said milk and meat were single-ingredients with no additives.

"One hundred percent what's on the label-wholesome, natural and unadulterated," she said.

"Whereas soy milk, for example, routinely includes a percentage of soy-under 20 per cent, along with added sugar, added oil, added minerals, added salt and added vitamins."

Senator McKenzie said she would work with her colleagues to put the issue is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.

"No self-respecting vegetarian would want to rock along to a barbeque to find that their vege-burger actually contained meat. Just as meat eaters don't want to find their meat patties are actually made from chickpeas and tofu," Senator McKenzie said.

"Accurate labelling isn't about picking beef over soy beans or cow's milk over an almond protein drink. There's room for both.

"But, one thing's for sure - they're not the same thing."

Senator McKenzie said she was also open to food labelling reform for non-meat producers.

"I'm all for growers of non-meat protein doing the same - in an upfront way for consumers," she said.

"But at the moment, there's ambiguity and, I would suggest, deliberate attempts by some of these plant-based protein manufacturers to trade on the good, honest work of our meat producers or our milk producers."

Source: North Queensland Register 18 September 2019