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NCBA Backs FAIR Labels Act to End Deceptive Fake Meat Labeling Practices

WASHINGTON (January 30, 2024) – Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced support for the bipartisan Fair and Accurate Ingredient Representation on Labels Act of 2024 (FAIR Labels Act) introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rep. Mark Alford (R-MO), Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), Rep. Don Davis (D-NC), and Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-IL). The bill would end deceptive labeling practices on fake meat products and ensure that consumers know exactly what they are buying at the grocery store.

“America’s farmers and ranchers work hard every day to bring a high-quality, wholesome product to market. We’re not afraid of a little competition, but it is unfair for lab grown or plant-based fake meat products to trade on beef’s good name,” said NCBA President Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota cattle producer. “This bill is especially important for ensuring that consumers recognize lab-grown products that may be coming to market in the future. Consumers deserve to know how their food is made and to understand that lab-grown products made in a bioreactor are not the same as the high-quality beef raised by farmers and ranchers.”

The FAIR Labels Act would require fake meat products to be labeled as “imitation,” to clearly differentiate between real meat and plant-based or substitute protein products. The bill would also provide clarity on lab grown products, especially in light of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s approval of lab-grown chicken. Lab-grown products are created from animal cells that are artificially replicated in a laboratory environment. While no lab-grown imitations of beef have been approved for sale in the United States, several companies are currently involved in research that could soon bring beef imitation lab-grown products to market. Under the FAIR Labels Act, lab-grown products would need to be clearly labeled as “lab-grown” and bear a statement that the product was not produced by traditional farming and ranching methods.

“Lab-grown products are an emerging technology, and the FAIR Labels Act is an important first step for making sure consumers understand the difference between lab-grown or plant-based products and real beef raised by farmers and ranchers,” said NCBA Director of Animal Health and Food Safety Policy Rebecca Barnett. “NCBA thanks Sen. Marshall, Rep. Alford, Rep. Williams, Rep. Davis, and Rep. Jackson for introducing this critical legislation that ensures American consumers know where their food comes from.”

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