Nebraska Bill Defines Meat as Derived from Livestock or Poultry
Introduced January 10, 2019, Nebraska Legislative Bill 14 would prohibit “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from livestock or poultry.” The bill, which was referred to the Agriculture Committee on January 14, was introduced by Sen. Carol Blood. “I’m not bringing this bill to tell people what they can and can’t eat. All I’m asking for is truth in advertising. It’s clear that meat comes from livestock, and livestock is our livelihood in Nebraska,” Blood told AP News.
Missouri was the first state to limit the use of the term “meat” to products derived from livestock or poultry (see Mo. Rev. Stat. § 265.494(7)). However, as previously reported on this blog, the Good Food Institute (GFI), the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, and Turtle Island Foods (Tofurky brand) have sued the state of Missouri, claiming the law violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, among other things.
While clean meat (muscle tissue cultured in vitro from animal cells that is also referred to as cell-cultured meat) is not yet commercially available, debates continue to take place on how to regulate it. Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming have introduced measures to limit the use of the term “meat” that are similar to Nebraska’s LB 14, AP reports. And, the United States Cattlemen’s Association submitted a petition asking USDA to exclude cultured products from the definition of beef and meat (see our July 11, 2018 blog).
While FDA and USDA have announced that they will jointly regulate cell-cultured meat products (see our November 19, 2018 blog), details on how these products will be regulated have yet to be determined. In response to a request by FDA and USDA for public input on the oversight of cell-cultured meat, GFI and seven cell-cultured meat companies jointly submitted comments that stated:
“Cell-cultured meat products should thus be required to use meat nomenclatures such as beef, pork, and chicken like their conventional counterparts, as these products will be designed to meet the product-specific characteristics in terms of composition, species, origin, nutritional profile and other applicable characteristics. This is essential to both consumer safety and transparency. Of course, consumers want to know what they are buying, and if cell-cultured meat products were labeled as something other than meat, this would cause confusion and make it harder for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.”
We will continue to report on regulatory activity in this area.