NCBA Backs Alford-Sponsored Measure Mandating Labels Identifying Imitation Meat

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced support for a measure introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Mark Alford (R-MO-04).  Ahead of its annual Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show this week in Orlando, NCBA declared its support for the Fair and Accurate Ingredient Representation on Labels Act, or “FAIR Labels Act”.  The measure would require plant-based or substitute protein products to be labeled as “imitation,” clearly differentiating them from real meat grown on farms and ranches.  NCBA President Todd Wilkinson says America’s farmers and ranchers work hard every day to bring a high-quality, wholesome product to market.  Wilkinson says the group is not afraid of a little competition, but calls it unfair for lab grown or plant-based fake meat products to trade on beef’s good name.

The bill would also provide clarity on lab grown products, especially in light of USDA’s approval of lab-grown chicken. Lab-grown products are created from animal cells that are artificially replicated in a laboratory environment. While no lab-grown imitations of beef have been approved for sale in the United States, several companies are currently involved in research that could soon bring beef imitation lab-grown products to market. Under the FAIR Labels Act, lab-grown products would need to be clearly labeled as “lab-grown” and bear a statement that the product was not produced by traditional farming and ranching methods.

Congressman Alford introduced the FAIR Labels Act alongside Representatives Don Davis (D-NC), Jonathan Jackson (D-IL), and Roger Williams (R-TX).  Roger Marshall (R-KS) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.