CSIRO has agreed to detail the extent of taxpayer support for fake meat companies.
The national science agency came under questioning in Federal parliament late last week on its support for alternative protein companies and groups.
CSIRO has promised to provide the answers.
Queensland senators James McGrath and Susan McDonald took aim at the CSIRO which appeared before the Senate Economics Legislation Committee last Thursday.
Australian Community Media's coverage of the issue was at the forefront of the questioning and extracts from FarmOnline's articles were read to the CSIRO representatives.
CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said there was a big market for vegan and vegetarian foods "to the north".
"I see these markets as additive to our food industries, not competitive (with red meat industries)," he said.
Dr Marshall said the spending of taxpayer money on advancing alternative protein science was only a small percentage of CSIRO's total investment.
Senator McGrath has asked for detailed information on the size of CSIRO's investment in alterative protein companies like Nourish Ingredients, Eden Brew and v2food.
He also asked for detailed information on taxpayer investment in alternative protein companies founded by former CSIRO staff.
Senator McGrath asked for information on CSIRO's relationship with the Melbourne group Food Frontier, who he labelled anti-meat activists.
Food Frontier, a not-for-profit "independent think tank" has previously defended that claim, made by the Red Meat Advisory Council, earlier in the year.
Food Frontier bills itself as an "expert advisor" on alternative proteins such as as plant-based and cellular products.
"We will look into it," Dr Marshall said, on any CSIRO involvement with the group.
Senator McGrath also asked for more information about the CSIRO's online digital tuckerbox and how it was funded.
The tuckerbox, a dietary guide for children, came under attack after it was launched for advising families to switch to plant-based meats.
Senator McDonald told the CSIRO representatives she was chairing an inquiry looking into the claims made by fake meat manufacturers on food labels.
CSIRO representatives have promised to respond to the Senate's questions.
The CSIRO appearance follows similar questions posed by the Red Meat Industry Councilthrough a series of Freedom of Information requests trying to learn if there are direct links between CSIRO and new plant-based commercial companies.
For its part, the CSIRO says financial support for some companies comes from the CSIRO Innovation Fund (now called Main Sequence) which is "structurally separate and legally distinct from CSIRO".
That fund has invested more than $19 million in plant-based meat company v2food.
The lion's share of the $4 million provided to animal-free dairy company Eden Brew is believed to have come from Main Sequence as well.
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