New Law Will Require “Imitation” Label on Plant-Based Meat
They're going after the label. First, the Dairy Pride Act was introduced into the Senate to make it illegal to label products "milk" or "yogurt" or "cheese" unless they were made from animal milk, so alternatives like almond milk or oat milk would have to find a new name. Now the same type of law is being introduced to put the label "imitation" on plant-based meats to avoid any potential consumer confusion as if someone might just buy a Beyond Burger by mistake (the horror).
The law, called the Real MEAT Act, is backed by cattle producers and the meat industry and was introduced into Congress by Representatives Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Anthony Brindisi (D-New York). Formally known as The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act, if passed into law, the bill would require that all plant-based meat alternatives be clearly labeled “imitation meat.” The proposers state that consumers need this label to combat the “confusion” caused by plant-based alternatives. While it is unclear if this confusion truly does exist amongst consumers, labeling a product “imitation” will almost certainly cause consumers to believe that a product is more processed and less healthy.
“This bill is a bald-faced attempt to get the government to police food labels to benefit the conventional meat industry, not consumers," a spokesperson for The Good Food Institute told Food Dive. This is a potential set back for the plant-based meat companies like Impossible and Beyond. "Rather than let consumers decide the winners and losers in a free marketplace, this bill attempts to stigmatize plant-based foods”
For more on the debate about burgers, and whether the plant-based ones are healthier for you than the real deal, read about which ones are healthiest by the numbers, on The Beet.