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Air New Zealand is embroiled in a meaty controversy after New Zealand’s acting Prime Minister criticized the airline’s new menu item. Winston Peters shared his beef with the airline, attacking them for using a meat substitute instead of real meat in its burger served during flights.

“I’m utterly opposed to fake beef,” said Peters. “Our airline should be [beef’s] number one marketer.”

The New Zealand flag carrier introduced the Impossible Burger onto its business class menu in this week, although you’ll only find it on flights from Auckland (AKL) to Los Angeles (LAX). The Impossible burger isn’t a normal veggie burger, but a new synthetic meat option that looks and tastes a lot like a normal beef patty.

The Impossible Burger. Image courtesy of Impossible Foods.

The airline even produced this funny promo video for the new item poking fun at how trendy the new food has become:

Beef production is a large sector New Zealand’s economy and its no laughing matter for the country’s politicians. New Zealand MP Nathan Guy also shared his disappointment in the airline’s menu choice.

Another MP, Mark Patterson said that serving the Impossible Burger is a “slap in the face” to New Zealand’s $6 billion red meat industry — adding that the burger might pose “an existential threat to New Zealand’s second biggest export earner.” The New Zealand government owns a 52% stake in the airline, meaning it could influence the carrier’s future food choices.

In a statement an Air New Zealand rep told TPG that it “makes no apology for offering innovative product choices for its customers and will continue to do so in the future.” It added that it purchases millions of dollars worth of New Zealand beef and lamb each year, specifically serving around 1.3 million meaty meals in the past 12 months.

H/T: NZ Herald

Featured image courtesy of Impossible Foods. 

The article was updated on 7/5/2018 with comment from Air New Zealand.

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