Making Meat Pies Meet Standards

Reporter: Graeme Butler

Merilyn Elson is from Mrs Mac's pies and she wants meatier pies to become law. "There has always been that little bit of concern that it's sort of a mystery bag," she said. "We want industry standards, the regulations to reflect industry standards and consumer expectations so we want people to have confidence."

Food Standards Australia sets the rules and right now a pie must contain 25 per cent meat but the problem is what they call meat and what you call meat is not always the same thing. Former food inspector turned lawyer, Des Sibraa, said it is a very broad definition for meat."Basically in any food, meat is any part of the carcass that is edible from a range of different animals and what we are trying to do is for meat pies to really tie that down to meat flesh," he said.

He said consumers expect chunky bits of meat and they do not expect to find tongue roots, rendered trimmings or pigs ears in a meat pie. Recently we tested a variety of pies for taste and meat content, some had soy protein substited for meat others were using cheaper meat like mutton in so called beef pies.

The makers of Mrs Mac's pies want pies to have a minimum of 25 per cent meat flesh and not all the other stuff we would rather not think about. According to Ms Elson, it is not so much that pies do not contain enough meat already but it is about consumer confidence. "The product won't change at all, there will be no pricing impact, just business as usual," she said. "If there is anyone out there who is doing the wrong thing then I think it's good and fair that they are brought in line with the rest of us."

You can make comment about the definition of Meat Pies by contacting Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Submissions close on November 15 2006