'Fake Meat' Labeling Bill Passes in Missouri

5/22/18 Missouri Labeling Fake Meat
Missouri's Senate has passed a bill that makes the labeling of plant-based and lab-grown meat clear when compared to meat coming from livestock. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Missouri is one step closer to being the first state to enact labeling that makes it clear if ‘meat’ is sourced from an animal or not.

The Missouri Senate passed an omnibus bill on May 17 with bipartisan support of 125-22 voting. The legislation contained SB 977, a provision identical to a bill passed by the Missouri House earlier in the month. SB 977 was sponsored by Sen. Sandy Crawford (R-28) and contained language prohibiting the misrepresentation of meat that is not derived from harvested livestock.

For the legislation to become official it will need to be signed by Gov. Eric Greitens (R-St. Louis).

The bill had the support of multiple agriculture organizations in the state including: Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) and the Missouri Pork Association.

MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering believes more states will follow the lead of Missouri.

“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 says. “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.”

The debate on plant-based and laboratory-grown meat has garnered national headlines with both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) making labeling a priority for their organizations.

“U.S. cattle producers take pride in developing the highest quality, and safest, beef in the world, and labels must clearly distinguish that difference,” says USCA President and North Dakota rancher Kenny Graner.

NCBA President Kevin Kester, a fifth-generation California rancher says his group’s goal is to “guarantee that consumers have the ability to purchase a safe, healthy and accurately labeled protein source.”

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