The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Missouri Passes Bill Defining 'Meat' to Exclude Plant-Based and Lab-Grown Foods
Missouri state lawmakers passed an omnibus agriculture bill on Thursday that includes a provision prohibiting plant-based products from being labeled as "meat."
This measure would ban companies from using the term "plant-based meat" to describe their products. It would also prevent any future lab-grown products that hit the market from using the labeling.
The change was approved on a 125-22 vote and was backed by the state's pork producers, the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.
Critics see the act as an attempt from the beef lobby to clamp down on the $5 billion "fake" meat industry, which has boomed from the public's increasing appetite for healthier, more humane and environmentally sustainable food products.
A recent Nielsen poll found 23 percent of consumers want more plant-based proteins on the shelves. HealthFocus International also found that 60 percent of U.S. consumers said they are reducing their consumption of meat-based products.
Earlier this year, Tyson Foods, one of the largest meat companies in the U.S., announced it is ramping up its investment in lab-grown animal protein in response to growing demand for meat worldwide. The company's venture capital arm purchased a minority stake in Memphis Meats, a San Francisco-based "clean" meat startup.
Still, Big Beef perceives meatless meats as a threat to the industry. Major national trade bodies such as the United States Cattlemen's Association, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Farmers Union have each petitioned the United States Agricultural Department over the labeling issue.
Missouri will be the first state in the country to enact such legislation if the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Brian Munzlinger, is signed into law. The state's House already passed their own version.
The act "prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry."
However, "misrepresentation is already prohibited by federal law; the intent of this bill is to censor labeling terms in plant-based products," Jessica Almy, director of policy at the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that promotes plant-based and clean meat, noted to Mother Jones.
She added that the term "plant-based meat" already makes it clear that a product is made from plants, and banning the term would "present a serious hurdle to manufacturers trying to describe their products."
The state's bill sends a signal to other states to introduce similar legislation, said Mike Deering, the executive vice president of the Missouri Cattleman's Association.
"This isn't a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day," Deering said in a statement. "I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn't meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue. We are beyond pleased to see this priority legislation cross the finish line."
Missouri's bill is akin to a measure announced in France this month that bans food producers from labelling plant-based products as a meat item.
Deering added that he does not oppose plant-based or lab-grown products. Rather, he wants to reduce customer confusion over the labeling.
"This legislation does not stifle technology, but it does ensure the integrity of our meat supply and reduces consumer confusion. We must ensure that those products do not mislead consumers into thinking those products are actually meat produced by farm and ranch families," he said.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.
By Jeff Turrentine
Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?