USA: When The Lobbies Lead Missouri To Define "Meat"

Is that meat? Yes it is.  

On August 28, Missouri became the first US state to give an official definition to “meat,” as the state enacted the law. As a result, meat-substitute and lab-grown proteins companies are now prohibited from marketing their substitutes as “meat”.

Goodbye to tofu “steaks”, “vegan sausages” and genetically modified (GM) products. Any violation of the law could lead the company at best to pay a $1,000 fine, at least to jail.

Is the law a response to “misleading commercial practices”, or is the world going crazy when it comes to feel the need to define “meat”? Overall, this is the story of a Lobby fight.

The bill was backed by the state’s huge cattle industry which is powerful in the 2nd beef cattle host state (besides Texas). “The law is aimed at protecting marketing integrity for what families work hard every day for,” claimed a breed association. These kind of associations have been fighting for a definition of the word “meat” as meat-substitutes grew. They accuse the targeted companies of using packaging to encourage "people to think that it is a safer version of traditional meat” argued Lia Biondo, from the United States Cattlemen’s Association, USCA.

To understand the benefit from such a law, it is necessary to remember that the meat-substitute market is expected to be valued at $7.5 billion globally within less than 10 years. Furthermore, in 2016, the state of Vermont applied a law requiring firms to clearly mention the presence of GMOs on food packaging if there are any. As a result, the US Congress passed a bill on GM food transparency. So the action of one state can easily led to a federal law.

Meat-substitute and lab-grown proteins companies are a bit anxious. The Good Food Institute, a meat-substitute promoting association is also at the receiving end and decided to lodge a complaint with the court, while in France, deputies voted for an amendment in April to prohibit “misleading commercial practices”, i.e. products using the word meat when it is not.  

By Antoine Dewaest

29 August 2018 10:49