Livestock News

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association asks USDA for better real vs. alternative beef labeling


The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association put it bluntly that meat shouldn’t be trivialized as a science project. And the group wants the public to be better informed about the difference between beef products derived from cattle and those created in a laboratory.

In a petition submitted to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the association seeks to establish accurate beef labeling requirements, specifically ones that designate alternative “beef” products that are not derived from cattle. These alternative “beef” products include synthetic products that are made from plant and/or insects and lab-grown.

USCA President Kenny Graner issued the following statement following the submission: “Accurate labeling of U.S. beef products has always been a number one priority for the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association. Our members brought forth their concern with the labeling of products as “meat” that are not in fact derived from bovine animals and USCA leadership and staff moved ahead with this petition to address that concern.”

The full petition can be read here.

The petition includes formal definitions for “beef” and “meat,” as well as addressing the applicability of the FTC’s “Truth in Advertising” standard to alternative product. It also brings up other labeling efforts, including the steps to implement country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

The petition’s conclusion said, “In recent years, there have been major investments in synthetic product and in products grown in laboratories using animal cells. Such products should not be permitted to be marketed as beef or as meat. This distinction should not be limited to just U.S. beef and meat, but rather applicable to all product regardless of the country of origin.”

AGDAILY wrote the topic of lab-grown “meat” in an article last summer.

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