October 28, 2019
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced to help combat the deceptive labeling of plant-based fake meat. The Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act of 2019 is sponsored by U.S. Reps. Roger Marshall (R – 1st Dist., Kansas) and Anthony Brindisi (D – 21st Dist., N.Y.).
Current products on the market like the Beyond Meat patty or the Impossible Burger are marketed to “sizzle” like real meat, have artificial grill marks, and even “bleed” like real meat – and are often seen being marketed right next to real meat under the premise that they are “even better than the real thing”. Many companies rely on deceptive marketing tactics, misleading marketing, or just downright smear campaigns against the beef industry in an effort to promote these increasingly popular products.
Supporters of legislation like the the Real MEAT Act of 2019 believe consumers should have the option to select their products from a level playing field with clear and straightforward information provided for each product available. Obviously the federal government agrees, as there are standards and laws governed by the FDA which prevent misleading advertising on food labeling. As the market for artificial meat continues to grow, laws to regulate the labeling and advertising of these products are needed to prevent the consumer from being intentionally misled.
Specifically, The Real Meat Act will:
1. Codify the Definition of Beef for Labeling Purposes
• Establish a federal definition of beef that applies to food labels;
• Preserve the Congressional Intent of the Beef Promotion and Research Act;
2. Reinforce Existing Misbranding Provisions to Eliminate Consumer Confusion
• FDA has misbranding provisions for false or misleading labels;
• Prevent further consumer confusion with alternative protein products;
• Clarify the imitation nature of these alternative protein products;
3.Enhance the Federal Government’s Ability to Enforce the Law
• FDA will have to notify USDA if an imitation meat product is determined to be misbranded;
• If FDA fails to undertake enforcement within 30 days of notifying USDA, the Secretary of Agriculture is granted authority to seek enforcement action.
To read the full text for the Real MEAT Act of 2019 – click here.
To read the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s statement and summary of the bill – click here.