Cattle farmers are concerned some alternative proteins are calling themselves meat.
Rep. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas' 1st District, along with Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a New York Democrat, also are concerned.
Both congressmen introduced The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully (MEAT) Act to eliminate deceptive labeling practices in alternative protein products. The Real MEAT Act regulates the definition of beef for labeling purposes.
“Consumers should be able to rely on the information on food labels they see on the shelves to be truthful and not deceptive,” Marshall said. “For years now, alternative protein products have confused many consumers with misleading packaging and creative names for products. With this bill, consumers can be sure that the meat products they are buying are indeed real meat.”
The Kansas Farm Food Connection estimates Kansas is home to more than 27,000 cattle ranches and 91% are family owned. This bill aims to help make sure these beef producers are protected from false marketing claims by meat alternatives.
“American families have a right to know what’s in their food,” Brindisi said. “Accurate labeling helps consumers make informed decisions and helps ensure families have access to a safe, abundant, affordable food supply. This bill is about safety and transparency, and will make sure that meat lovers and vegans alike have the transparency and honest labels that can allow customers to make their own decisions.”
Kansas Livestock Association CEO Matt Teagarden said the legislation would "rein in false labeling and clarify for consumers what is real beef and what is fake.”
Jake Pannbacker, of Pannbacker Farms in Washington County, is glad Marshall introduced this bill.
“As beef producers, we have one ingredient in our product,” Pannbacker said. “With beef from cattle, it supplies a great source of protein and other vitamins and minerals.”
Pannbacker said that isn't the case with alternative proteins.
“With alternative meats, there are plenty of ingredients,” Pannbacker said. “You can’t say it’s meat when it’s not meat."