US Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced the Real MEAT Act in a bid to “end deceptive labelling practices for alternative protein products”.
The bill, Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act of 2019, aims to clarify the definition of beef for labelling purposes, eliminate consumer confusion resulting from misbranding, and ensure that the federal government is able to enforce the law. The Senate bill is designed to be a companion to HR4881, which was introduced by US Representatives Roger Marshall of Kansas and Anthony Brindisi of New York in October which divided opinions within the food industry.
“Beef is derived from cattle—period,” said Senator Fischer. “Under USDA, beef undergoes a rigorous inspection and labelling process, but plant-based protein products that mimic beef and are sometimes labelled as beef are overseen by the FDA instead. These products are not held to the same food safety and labelling standards as beef. Americans deserve to know what’s on their dinner plate. The Real MEAT Act will protect consumers from deceptive marketing practices and bring transparency to the grocery store.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Jennifer Houston said: “It’s clear that fake-meat companies are continuing to mislead consumers about the nutritional merits and actual ingredient composition of their products. We commend the efforts of Senator Fischer on introducing this legislation, which would end deceptive labelling of fake meat products and allow cattle producers to compete on a level playing field.”