Meat & Livestock News

Towards Greater Transparency: The Introduction of the FAIR Labels Act


  • New legislation, the FAIR Labels Act, proposes clear labelling for meat alternatives and cultivated meat, using terms like “imitation” and “cell-cultured.”
  • Initiated by a cross-party group of US lawmakers, the act aims to enhance transparency for consumers and ensure equity for traditional meat producers.
  • Garnering widespread support from key agricultural and meat industry bodies, the legislation seeks to safeguard the integrity of meat from farm-raised animals.

In a pivotal development aimed at bolstering consumer knowledge and fairness in the meat industry, a bipartisan coalition of US legislators unveiled the Fair and Accurate Ingredient Representation of Labels Act of 2024 (FAIR Labels Act) on the 30th of January.

This groundbreaking initiative, championed by figures such as Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Representatives Mark Alford (R-Mo.), Roger Williams (R-Texas), Don Davis (D-NC), and Jonathon Jackson (D-Ill.), seeks to mandate explicit labelling for alternative protein and cultivated meat products.

Clarifying Labels for Meat Alternatives

Under the proposed FAIR Labels Act, products derived from plant-based sources intended as meat substitutes, alongside those produced through cultivation processes, would be required to carry labels identifying them as “imitation” or “cell-cultured/lab-grown” meat respectively.

This legislative move is designed to dispel consumer confusion and uphold the esteemed legacy of meat produced by the nation’s diligent farmers and ranchers. The responsibility for implementing and enforcing these labelling and inspection standards would fall to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Endorsements from the Agricultural Sector

The initiative has received a warm reception from prominent industry groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which praised the act for promoting competition and fairness. NCBA President Todd Wilkinson underscored the importance of enabling consumers to make informed distinctions between traditional beef and its lab-grown counterparts, advocating for transparency regarding the origins and production methods of meat products.

Additional endorsements have come from the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Sheep Industry, and the National Association of the State Departments of Agriculture, highlighting the broad support for the act within the agricultural community.

Impacts and Expectations

The FAIR Labels Act is poised to significantly enhance the clarity and accuracy of meat product labelling, empowering consumers to make informed choices while acknowledging the contributions of traditional meat production to food quality and nutrition.

This legislative effort marks a critical step towards fostering a more transparent and equitable marketplace, where the distinctions between various meat products are communicated clearly, benefiting both consumers and the agricultural sector.