Last year, Missouri became the first state to address the fake meat issue with legislation, sending a signal to other states to follow suit — and boy did they. Since then, three states have passed their own legislation defining real meat with many other states following in their footsteps with similar bills up for consideration. Most recently, Montana’s legislators approved the Real Meat Act.
The new bill, sponsored by Rep. Alan Redfield and signed by the speaker on April 1, now awaits Gov. Steven Bullock’s signature before becoming law. Redfield said he wants to make sure that the consumer knows what they are buying and where it comes from. The bill does not ban cell-cultured options, it is only there to clarify the products for consumers.
According to the bill, ” ‘Hamburger’ or ‘ground beef’ means ground fresh or frozen beef or a combination of both fresh and frozen beef, with or without the addition of suet, to which no water, binders, or extenders are added. The term includes only products entirely derived from the edible flesh of livestock or a livestock product, as meat. The term does not include cell-cultured edible products.”
States with similar labeling bills up for consideration include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
Although many states have taken their ques from Missouri, hopefully they will not follow exactly in their footsteps. Missouri is facing legal troubles after their bill passed. Turtle Island Foods sued the State of Missouri claiming the law is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, specifically commercial freedom of speech. The case is now on hold after both sides announced they have reached a settlement. The judge gave them until May 1 to iron out the details.
Montana Farm Bureau emphasizes the importance of the Real Meat Act. “Passage of HB 327 is important to Montana’s farmers and ranchers because we are proud of the high quality, real meat products we raise,” said Liv Stavick, Montana Farm Bureau Federation lobbyist . “We believe consumers deserve accurate and complete information about the food they consume and this bill will provide just that. Cell-cultured edible products are not yet commercially available, but when they enter the marketplace, Montana needs to be ready to identify them properly. We don’t want our consumers deceived into purchasing a product that may not be what they expect in taste, texture, nutrition, or quality.”