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Shot Caller: A Podcast by Shannon Sagawe

Jan 19, 2021

In this "Veganuary" themed podcast we have the pleasure to hear from Alexandra Clark to talk to us about the food regulation governing innovation in the new “novel” &  “cultivated meat & dairy” economies. 

Alexandra is a vegan consultant who spent more than a decade in the EU capital of Brussels, initially working for the Vice President of the European Parliament, helping drive the agenda to reduce animal product production and consumption in the EU.

In 2009, she initiated and organised one of the parliament’s largest ever hearings, Less Meat = Less Heat, exploring the link between animal agriculture and global warming, with keynote speaker Sir Paul McCartney!

Covering a wide range of policy areas, her work included leading the Brussels lobby to increase EU public investment in alternative proteins R&I; securing the ‘promotion of plant-based menus’ as a mandatory criteria in the EU’s Green Public Procurement criteria for food and catering; and successfully removing ‘higher animal welfare and environmental standards than the legal minimum’ from the blacklist of banned practices in the Unfair Trading Practices regulation. (I had to read that about three times before I understood it-then I was quite shocked that increasing animal welfare standards was a “banned practice?)

She helps us understand the rather large hypocrisy of the recent EU vote in October 2020 that voted for stricter rules on labelling of dairy substitutes. It would forbid them from using terms such as "milk-like" or "cheese-like" for plant-based products that contain no dairy components.  This follows on an earlier EU ban from 2017 that forbid terms like "Soy Milk" and "vegan cheese."  Given the massive climate impact from dairy,  Oatly waded in on this, calling the decision ‘wacko’ and an ‘incomprehensible’ direction to take ‘in the middle of a climate crisis’. 

We discuss the EU Farm policy and all the billions that go to subsidise industrial farming. A New York Times investigation conducted in nine countries for much of 2019, uncovered a "subsidy system that is deliberately opaque, grossly undermines the European Union’s environmental goals and is warped by corruption and self-dealing."

Alexandra expresses the importance of reducing the chance for another pandemic, following upon the devastation of Covid-19.  We discuss the riveting Hope Through History podcast by Jon Meacham.  The 1918 Influenza episode is particularly relevant to this discussion and a wonderfully educational intro for children and young adults on the topic.

We discuss Gregg's vegan sausage roll and how it fueled a profit boom for them.  Alexandra is also encouraged by KFC's partnership with a lab grown meat company in Russia.

This podcast offers a great insight into both the challenges and opportunities of shifting the EU (and global) diets towards a plant-based menu.  

Rapid Fire popped up these gems:

  • Her cats love nutritional yeast as a treat
  • She uses vegan products from EVOLVE organic beauty
  • She uses a reselling website in the UK for baby clothes called 

I hope you enjoy and share it with those who it will also resonate with!

You can find Alexandra on LinkedIn or on Twitter.


The Shot Caller Echosystem