Meat & Livestock News

Senator Deb Fischer Advocates for Clearer Meat Labelling with the Reintroduction of the Real MEAT Act

reparto di una macelleria in cui vengono tagliati i pezzi di carne per poi essere messi dentro a buster di plastica per essere conservata sottovuoto.

In a significant move for the American meat industry, US Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) reintroduced the Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act, commonly referred to as the Real MEAT Act, on the 14th of November.

This legislative proposal is a pivotal step towards refining the labelling standards for meat and meat alternatives in the United States.

The essence of the Real MEAT Act is to bring clarity and transparency to the labelling of beef and pork products, particularly in the context of the burgeoning market for alternative proteins. 

The Act proposes that products made from alternative proteins, which are primarily plant-based, should be labelled as “imitation” to prevent consumer confusion and ensure that the distinction between these products and traditional meat is clear and straightforward.

Senator Fischer’s initiative underscores the necessity for consumers to have accurate information about the food products they choose.

She highlights the potential for consumer deception with plant-based products mimicking traditional beef and pork, advocating for the need to uphold the integrity and reputation of real meats.

The proposed legislation delineates specific definitions for key terms. It states that “beef” should be defined as cattle flesh, with “beef product” referring to any edible item made entirely or partially from beef, excluding dairy products.

Similarly, “pork” is to be defined as pig flesh, with “pork product” encompassing any food item made entirely or partially from pork. The Act also seeks to define terms such as “meat,” “meat food product,” “meat byproducts,” and “meat broker,” aligning them with the established federal regulations.

The Real MEAT Act has received backing from notable agricultural bodies, including the US Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

Buck Wehrbein, the NCBA’s vice president and a Nebraska cattle producer, expressed his support for the Act, acknowledging the dedication of cattle producers to providing high-quality protein and the importance of transparency in plant-based product labelling.

A key provision of the Act involves the role of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Act requires the HHS to provide a 60-day notice to the Secretary of the USDA if a product is found to be misbranded. If the HHS Secretary does not take enforcement action within 30 days, the USDA Secretary is then authorised to mark the product as mislabeled.

This reintroduction of the Real MEAT Act follows a similar attempt by Senator Fischer in 2019 and aligns with other legislative efforts, such as the recent law signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, which mandates specific labelling for meat alternatives and cultivated meat products. 

These legislative developments reflect a growing emphasis on the accuracy and clarity of food labelling, a critical issue in an era where alternative protein sources are increasingly common in consumer diets.