The U.S. House of Representatives has passed Rep. Vern Buchanan's (R-Fla.) Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018, a bill that would prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption. The bill would also prohibit the knowing sale or donation of a dog or cat to a person who would slaughter it for consumption. The bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reportedly found that one-fifth of meat samples tested contained DNA not attributable to the animal source indicated on the label. FSA conducted 665 tests from 487 businesses suspected of "compliance issues," including restaurants and supermarkets, and purportedly found that some samples contained DNA from as many as four animals. The products included mincemeat, sausages, kebabs and curries. An FSA spokesperson reportedly told BBC that the results were "not representative of the wider food industry."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced a joint public meeting to discuss "the use of cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock and poultry." The meeting, which will be held October 23-24, 2018, will focus on "the potential hazards, oversight considerations, and labeling" of the product category. Following a conference hosted by the Good Food Institute, cell-based meat brand representatives reportedly agreed to "abandon the term 'clean meat' in favor of cell-based meat." "We discussed the pros and cons of the term 'clean meat,' and decided to shift our label to 'cell-based meat,'" a conference attendee reportedly told Food Navigator. "Traditional meat companies can be our biggest ally if they want to work with us. We can help them transition from industrial animal agriculture to cell-based meat. Cell-based meat is a better label to bring them on board."
The Good Food Institute (GFI) and Tofurky Co. have filed a civil-rights action alleging that Missouri "criminalizes truthful speech by prohibiting 'misrepresenting' a product as 'meat' if that product is 'not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.'" Turtle Island Foods v. Richardson, No. 18-4173 (W.D. Mo., filed August 27, 2018). The lawsuit responds to Missouri's agriculture bill, which was amended to include the contested language in June 2018 and took effect August 28. The complaint alleges that the statute seeks "to prevent plant-based and clean meat producers, including Tofurky, from accurately informing consumers what their products are: foods designed to fulfill the roles conventional meat has traditionally played in a meal." The plaintiffs argue that consumers are unlikely to be confused because "historically, the term 'meat' has had multiple meanings, including to describe the edible part of any food, such as a fruit or nut"; further, "clean meat" products…
Consumers Union has announced the results of a phone survey asking consumers how meat products created from cultured animal cells in a laboratory should be labeled. The survey purportedly found that 49 percent of respondents indicated that the products should be labeled as meat with an explanation of its production and 40 percent answered that the products should be labeled as "something other than meat," while five percent of respondents said that they should be labeled as meat without further explanation. The survey also reportedly found that "lab-grown meat" and "artificial or synthetic meat" were the most popular answers about what the products should be called, while "cultured meat," "clean meat" and "in vitro meat" were less popular.
Federal prosecutors in Chicago are seeking an injunction against Kingdom Farms Wholesale Meats Inc. for allegedly packaging, selling and transporting products without federal marks of inspection and required labeling. U.S. v. Kingdom Farms Wholesale Meats Inc., No. 18-4155 (N.D. Ill., filed June 14, 2018). The complaint asserts that Kingdom Farms removed products from properly labeled shipping containers and repackaged and sold them without inspection marks and labeling, applied inspection labeling without authorization, and reused properly labeled shipping containers without authorization. The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges the defendants’ actions violated the Poultry Products Inspection Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act and seeks a permanent injunction restraining them from misbranding or mislabeling products and compelling their compliance with the laws.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will host a public meeting on cultured meat, poultry and seafood on July 12, 2018. In a press release, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb asserted that the agency governs "both substances used in the manufacture of these products of animal cell culture technology and the products themselves that will be used for food" and grouped cultured meats with other "rapidly evolving areas of technological innovation" such as genetically engineered foods and microbial, algal and fungal cells generated and used as direct food ingredients. "The FDA remains committed to using our expertise in relevant scientific areas to evaluate the safety of emerging food technologies, such as foods generated by animal cell culture technology," according to Gottlieb's statement. "But as we mentioned, in addition to leveraging the existing expertise of our staff, we’re also investing in making sure we are considering all the unique attributes and challenges…
The American Grassfed Association and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) have filed a petition urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to change its policy allowing meat produced outside of the United States to be labeled as a product of the country if it passes through an agency-inspected plant. The groups call for a change to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Policy Book, which allows a label to bear "Product of U.S.A." if the food is "processed" within the United States. They argue that the section should be clarified to instruct that a label can bear the phrase if "it can be determined that significant ingredients having a bearing on consumer preference such as meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, etc., are of domestic origin (minor ingredients such as spices and flavorings are not included). In this case, the labels should be approved with the understanding that such ingredients…
The Missouri legislature has passed an agriculture bill that would prohibit companies from labeling lab-grown and plant-based products as "meat." The bill bans "misleading or deceptive practices" in the sale of meat, including "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Missouri Governor Eric Greitens must sign the bill by July 15, 2018. Similar measures have been debated at the federal level, and the U.S. Cattlemen's Association filed a petition in February 2018 urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish beef labeling that would limit the use of "beef" and "meat" on products not derived from animals.
U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-Maine) have introduced a bill that "would allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines," according to a press release. The senators assert that although the inspection programs of 27 states meet or exceed federal inspection standards and the meat is processed through facilities approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the products are not allowed to be sold across state lines. "Our bipartisan, commonsense bill will create new markets for producers and give consumers more choices at the grocery store, while continuing to maintain the high quality and safety standards necessary to keep consumers healthy," Rounds was quoted as saying.