U.K. and U.S. researchers have published a study on "a market-based approach of taxing red and processed meat according to its health impacts." Springmann et al., "Health-motivated taxes on red and processed meat: A modelling study on optimal tax levels and associated health impacts," PLOS One, November 6, 2018. The researchers predict that meat-related health care costs will amount to $285 billion in 2020, and they created a model to determine what level of tax or pricing change would account for the associated costs. They purportedly determined that doubling the price of processed meats and raising the price of red meat by about 20 percent would result in enough revenue to account for costs of the reduced consumption rates that would be associated with a rise in price. “I hope that governments will consider introducing a health levy on red and processed meat as part of a range of measures…
A consumer has filed a lawsuit alleging that he contracted Salmonella from beef supplied to a restaurant by JBS Tolleson Inc. Rozich v. JBS Tolleson Inc., No. 18-1929 (D. Nev., filed October 8, 2018). The plaintiff alleges his infection stemmed from an outbreak of Salmonella that resulted in JBS recalling nearly seven million pounds of beef on October 4, 2018. The complaint cites a July 2017 notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service purportedly alleging a JBS facility president enabled “‘egregious’ and ‘inhumane’ practices with livestock.” The plaintiff seeks damages and costs for allegations of strict product liability, negligence and breach of warranty.
A Colorado federal court has dismissed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) lawsuit alleging JBS USA discriminated against Muslim workers by denying prayer breaks. EEOC v. JBS USA, No. 10-2103 (D. Colo., entered September 24, 2018). The court found that EEOC failed to prove that JBS suspended or fired the workers in an effort to deny requested religious accommodations. A Nebraska court dismissed similar claims against the company in October 2013.
The New York Times has reported on the Orthodox Union's efforts to determine whether meat grown in a lab from animal cells can be kosher. The reporter follows a rabbi tasked with researching the process. The rabbi distinguishes between products grown from muscle cells—which must be from an animal properly slaughtered in kosher standards rather than still alive—and products potentially grown from animal saliva or hair, which are reportedly under research. The latter products would not be considered meat under Jewish law, the New York Times notes. “The identity of a given cell, and ensuring that its identity is preserved and verifiable, would be crucial to our being able to certify a product,” the report quotes the rabbi as saying.
A New York federal court has dismissed a putative class action alleging that Dunkin' Brands Inc. misled consumers by marketing a sandwich and a wrap as containing "Angus steak." Chen v. Dunkin' Brands, Inc., No. 17-3808 (E.D.N.Y., entered September 17, 2018). The court first dismissed the claims brought by a non-resident of New York, finding it did not have jurisdiction to consider them. The court also dismissed the resident plaintiff's breach-of-warranty allegation under the Magnuson-Moss Act, holding that the description "Angus beef" is "'at most' a 'product description,' not a written warranty." Turning to the state-law claim of deceptive practices, the court disagreed with the plaintiff's argument that a reasonable consumer would interpret "Angus steak" as "an intact cut of meat," finding that the television commercials show "zoomed-in pictures of the sandwich and wrap, with ground-meat patties." The plaintiff also asserted that the beef patties contained additives and preservatives, which…
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.