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U.S. bill calls for ‘no-meat’ labeling

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Rather than let consumers decide the winners and losers in a free marketplace, this bill attempts to stigmatize plant-based foods by requiring that they be labeled 'imitation' to tilt the playing field to benefit conventional meat.

NATHAN OWENS: ‘A federal bill that would require that plant- and cell-based meat products be labeled as “imitation” was introduced in Washington last week. The bill has the support of farmers and ranchers. Others call it an unnecessary overreach.

Plant-based foods created to look, feel and taste like beef or chicken are growing in popularity. Lawmakers have tried, and succeeded at times, to pass laws that call for producers of such products to be fined for improper labeling. Their reasoning is that shoppers are unintentionally buying meatless meats instead of the real thing…

To address the concern on a national scale, they wrote a bill called the Real Meat Act of 2019 to ensure that consumers make informed decisions in choosing between meat and imitation meat products… The federal bill defines “imitation meat food product” as any good made to look, feel, taste or approximate the chemicals of specific types of meat, but does not contain any meat or meat ingredients…

“Any imitation meat food product, beef or beef product shall be deemed to be misbranded unless its label bears, in type of uniform size and prominence, the word ‘imitation’ immediately before or after the name of the food and a statement that clearly indicates the product is not derived from or does not contain meat,” the six-page bill says.

If any food is found mislabeled, the bill says the secretary of the Health and Human Services Department shall within 60 days notify the secretary of agriculture. If Health and Human Services fails to notify the secretary of agriculture, the agriculture secretary may treat each instance as misbranding under the Federal Meat Inspection Act…

“This bill is a baldfaced attempt to get the government to police food labels to benefit the conventional meat industry, not consumers,” said Jessica Almy, director of policy for the Good Food Institute… “Rather than let consumers decide the winners and losers in a free marketplace, this bill attempts to stigmatize plant-based foods by requiring that they be labeled ‘imitation’ to tilt the playing field to benefit conventional meat,” she continued. “We are confident that Congress will see this bill for what it is — unnecessary government overreach — and we do not expect it will get much traction”.’  SOURCE…

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