What’s on the label? Traditionally-harvested vs lab-grown

WASHINGTON – As new, alternative “beef” products make their way onto grocery store shelves, National Farmers Union (NFU) is encouraging federal officials to establish labelling requirements that better inform consumers about the difference between products that come from traditionally harvested animals and those that were created in a laboratory
calendar icon 11 April 2018
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NFU today wrote to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in support of a US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) petition on the matter. The family farm organisation opposes labelling alternative protein sources as ‘meat’. Delegates to NFU’s 116th Anniversary Convention in March passed a special order of business to this effect.

“NFU is concerned with the recent introduction of foods composed of alternative protein sources that are being labelled and marketed as ‘meat’,” said NFU President Roger Johnson in the letter.

“NFU embraces new opportunities for family farmers and ranchers, including further development of markets for plant-based and insect-based proteins. However, we believe all food products should be clearly labelled in a manner that helps consumers make informed decisions and allows producers to differentiate their products.”

Johnson also highlighted concerns about development of alternative meat products grown in laboratories using animal cells. “These products are not derived from animals born, raised, and harvested in a traditional manner, and should not be permitted to be marketed as ‘meat’,” he said.

Johnson said that the NFU supports USCA’s request to restrict the broader definition of ‘meat’ to the tissue or flesh of animals that have been harvested in the traditional manner.

“We support the petition’s request to define ‘beef’ as products deriving from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner,” said Johnson.

“We also urge consistent application of the requested definition standards across meat products, including poultry, pork, and lamb.”

As reported by NFU (US)

Ryan Johnson

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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