The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in the United States has applauded the bipartisan introduction of the Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act of 2019 by Congressmen Roger Marshall (Republican of Kansas) and Anthony Brindisi (Democrat of New York) on October 28.
“A growing number of fake meat products are clearly trying to mislead consumers about what they’re trying to get them to buy,” said NCBA President and Tennessee cattle rancher Jennifer Houston. “Consumers need to be protected from deceptive marketing practices, and cattle producers need to be able to compete on a fair, level playing field. We want to thank Congressmen Brindisi and Marshall for leading the way on this very important issue.”
Specifically, The Real MEAT Act will:
1. Codify the Definition of Beef for Labeling Purposes
• Establish a federal definition of beef that applies to food labels;
• Preserve the Congressional Intent of the Beef Promotion and Research Act
2. Reinforce Existing Misbranding Provisions to Eliminate Consumer Confusion
• FDA has misbranding provisions for false or misleading labels;
• Prevent further consumer confusion with alternative protein products;
• Clarify the imitation nature of these alternative protein products;
3. Enhance the Federal Government’s Ability to Enforce the Law
• FDA will have to notify USDA if an imitation meat product is determined to be misbranded;
• If FDA fails to undertake enforcement within 30 days of notifying USDA, the Secretary of Agriculture is granted authority to seek enforcement action.
“Consumers should be able to rely on the information on food labels they see on the shelves to be truthful and not deceptive,” said Congressman Marshall. “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.”
“American families have a right to know what’s in their food,” added Congressman Brindisi. “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.”