Dairy farmers don't know which way to go on labels

09 Mar 2019

In an amazing twist of logic, dairy farmers are now campaigning against a ban on using labels such as camembert, brie, fetta and parmesan on Australian dairy products. The European Union is demanding Australia implement the ban as part of a new trade agreement.

The farmers claim that a ban on the use of these words is 'protectionist' and will 'hurt Australian farmers', especially dairy farmers. In an opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review, Fiona Simson, head of the National Farmers' Federation, says that Australian producers have a 'right' to use these terms, known as 'geographical indications' (GIs). Instead, she calls them 'generic descriptors' and maintains that the terms should be available for use on Australian products. She says 'Australia has long opposed regulating the use of common food names through GI regimes at the WTO and in other forums because they are fundamentally protectionist.'

In contrast, farmers have recently been calling for a ban on using terms such as milk and cheese on vegan products. The head of dairy industry lobby group Dairy Connect says that "the use of the word 'milk' could confuse consumers" and that these "non-dairy businesses should not be permitted to represent their products as something they are not." These calls are being made simply to benefit the dairy industry.

So, on the one hand dairy farmers don't want a ban on using 'fetta' and 'parmesan' on their products (because it is 'protectionist'), but do want a ban on 'milk' and 'cheese' on plant products (because it will protect dairy farmers' profits). How greedy and hypocritical!


Vegan Australia is an animal rights organisation that campaigns nationally for veganism. 
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