Hungary investigates meat analogues

The Ministry of Agriculture does not believe that alternative sources of protein could replace meat.

A man holding two vegan hamburgers
©Marcel Gnauk
Vegan hamburgers and other meat replacements are on the rise in Hungary too - And the national authority in charge of food chain safety is now launching an investigation maintains that these do not perfectly replace traditional meat.

The Hungarian National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) has launched an overarching investigation into alternative protein sources, including meat analogues, insect products and soy products with the goal of researching their effects on the human body, announced the office Monday.

State Secretary Norbert Erdős of the Ministry of Agriculture, in charge of food chain safety monitoring, said that while during the COVID-19 pandemic, food innovation trends did not lose momentum, the office also thinks that the majority of Hungarians still prefer classical (meat) products, writes the news portal Telex.

The State Secretary also commented that “the majority of plant-based ingredients used in meat analogue products do not contain all the vitally important essential amino acids.” He said that this in turn leads to health issues and that the powder form plant ingredients carry the risk of cross-contamination with allergens, which is also a health risk to some.

On the topic of the EU food safety agency declaring yellow mealworm to be safe for human consumption, Mr. Erdős said that 70% of the populace in Hungary would not eat insects and that he believes that it is a “totally unrealistic idea that there would be a perfect replacement for traditional meat products.”

The state secretary also added that the ministry envisions the domestic food industry’s future in the adaption to consumer needs and that the government does not see lab-grown meat and insect meat as the path ahead for Hungarian food production.