Bill Introduced to Prevent Plant-Based Products Being Labeled as Meat

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Washington, D.C.—U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Congressman Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) introduced the Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully (MEAT) Act in the House of Representatives on October 28, which will codify the definition of beef for labeling purposes, reinforce existing misbranding provisions, and enhance enforcement measures available to USDA if FDA fails to take appropriate action, according to IFT. The intent is to prevent plant-based products from being labeled as “meat.”

Rep. Marshall said in a press release: “Consumers should be able to rely on the information on food labels they see on the shelves to be truthful and not deceptive. For years now, alternative protein products have confused many consumers with misleading packaging and creative names for products. With this bill, consumers can be sure that the meat products they are buying are indeed real meat.”

Rep. Brindisi also commented in the release: “This bill is about safety and transparency, and will make sure that meat-lovers and vegans alike have the transparency and honest labels that can allow customers to make their own decisions.”

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Jennifer Houston, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President, expressed her support in a press release: “A growing number of fake meat products are clearly trying to mislead consumers about what they’re trying to get them to buy. Consumers need to be protected from deceptive marketing practices, and cattle producers need to be able to compete on a fair, level playing field. We want to thank Congressmen Brindisi and Marshall for leading the way on this very important issue.”

IFT noted that Dan Colegrove, a lobbyist for the Plant Based Foods Association, testified before the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue, and Financial Institutions in response to a similar state bill. Colegrove said: “PBFA believes that these bills are a solution in search of a problem. Our member companies already use qualifying terms on their product labels, such as ‘non-dairy’ or ‘plant-based’ to make things clear to consumers. The labels are also in full compliance with current use FDA regulations by using what are known as ‘common and usual’ names… Plant-based foods have been in the marketplace for more than 30 years using terms that are clearly understood. We believe that there is room on grocery shelves for everyone and that governments should not be in a position of choosing winners and losers.”

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