Livestock News

Pork industry takes issue with new Impossible Sausage labeling


This week at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Impossible Foods unveiled Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage — the startup’s first all-new products since the Impossible Burger in 2016. Impossible Sausage will debut later this month at 139 Burger King restaurants in five test regions: Savannah, Georgia; Lansing, Michigan; Springfield, Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Montgomery, Alabama (the Impossible Burger is already in Burger King restaurants nationwide). 

Just like the Impossible Burger, they are trying to rid the need of animal products. Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Patrick O. Brown said, “We won’t stop until we eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.”

To no surprise, the pork industry is not happy with the new announcement. The National Pork Producers Council called Impossible Foods’ naming convention for its plant-based products designed to mimic real pork a brazen violation of labeling law.

Citing law that prohibits the use of words that redefine pork as it has been known by consumers for centuries, Dr. Dan Kovich, director of science and technology for the National Pork Producers Council, said, “What’s impossible is to make pork from plants. This is a brazen attempt to circumvent decades of food labeling law and centuries of precedence. Any adjective placed in front of the word pork can only refine it, not redefine it. It’s not pork. It’s not pork sausage. It can’t be labelled as such.”

NPPC supports consumer choice and competitive markets on a level playing field. Accordingly, plant-based and cell-cultured products designed to mimic real meat must face the same stringent regulatory requirements as livestock agriculture, including truthful labeling standards. For more information, please read NPPC’s position paper.

In summary of the position paper, NPPC is working on the issue of plant-based and cultured alternative proteins to protect the term “pork.” These efforts are focused in three key areas:

  • We need to understand how these products are produced and hold accountable those who make unsubstantiated claims about the sustainability or ethics of their products. The phrase “clean meat” is not acceptable for cultured protein products.
  • NPPC is fighting for a level regulatory playing field. This means that cultured protein products must be regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. NPPC is supporting Trump administration an congressional efforts to make sure this happens.
  • Plant-based alternative protein products cannot be called pork, and cultured products cannot be called pork without qualification making it clear how they were made. Consumers can choose pork sausage or bacon for breakfast, or they can choose an “in-vitro produced pork food product.”
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