THE National Beef Association (NBA) has demanded the high beef production standards of UK producers must be recognised, maintained and matched by any imported beef products.

Following the reintroduction of the Agriculture Bill into Parliament in January, the NBA is asking for even greater traceability and nutritional values to be demonstrated at the point of sale.

Andrew Laughton, NBA chairman, said January had seen many new 'no-meat' product ranges introduced with, he claimed, misleading labelling and little reflection of equivalent nutritional values.

He said: "We see the example across the Channel, led by French producers, whereby non-meat-based products must be clearly identified and labelled as such.

"This faux-meat branding ban means producers using terms such as 'steak', 'sausage' or 'burger' for food free of animal products will face hefty fines, yet we are seeing major high-street food retailers in the UK bringing out more ranges such as 'vegan-steak bakes'.

"To me, this smacks of a whole movement piggybacking on the ethical, traceable and trusted food source provided by the UK beef industry, and undermines the nutritional values of red meat."

The NBA believes stronger measures should be enforced for labelling and branding of products.

Mr Laughton said: "We could also point to carbon footprint labelling. With Boris Johnson welcoming beef imports from Uganda in a post-Brexit pledge to Ugandan farmers, it is crucial we focus on the environmental contribution and welfare standards of home-produced beef products.

"We also see the environmental impact in the production of certain faux-meat food products, but where is this demonstrated on the shop shelves?"

He said clearer labelling of product content and source of origin would help provide consumers with the information to make an informed choice on the foods they purchase, based on nutritional values and traceability.