Congressman Mark Alford (MO-04) today led the introduction of the Fair Labels Act of 2024, which is designed to ensure consumers have accurate information about plant-based and cell-cultured protein (lab-grown) products when making purchasing decisions.
“While NCC recognizes consumers have a variety of dietary preferences and support individual choice, we advocate that imitation alternatives be accurately labeled in a way that clearly explains what they are and how they were made,” said NCC President Mike Brown. “According to consumer research, one in five Americans have reported accidentally purchasing a plant-based product, believing it to be real chicken. As such, we’re pleased to support legislation like the Fair Labels Act that would clarify labeling requirements for these imitation products.”
Highlights of the Legislation:
- Enhanced Clarity: The Act defines “Imitation Meat” and “Imitation Poultry” to help consumers easily identify plant-based protein products that visually resemble or are represented as meat or poultry but are derived from plant sources.
- Authority & Inspection: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will oversee the labeling of these products, working alongside the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to maintain product inspection standards.
- Labeling Requirements: Product labels will be required to use terms like “imitation” or similar descriptors, along with a clear disclaimer if the product does not contain meat or poultry.
- Definition of Cell-Cultured (Lab Grown) Products: The Act provides a clear definition of cell-cultured meat and poultry products, ensuring that labels accurately reflect lab-grown food sources.
- Regulatory Framework Confirmation: This legislation confirms the shared jurisdiction of the FDA and USDA in overseeing lab-grown meat and poultry, solidifying the cooperative agreement for labeling.
“The American consumer deserves to know what they are eating and feeding their families,” said Rep. Alford. “Whether they choose protein substitutes like plant-based or lab-grown protein or traditionally raised meat, the product should be labeled clearly. Farmers and ranchers across the country work from sun-up to sun-down to produce high-quality and nutritious meat for consumers. It is only fair that all products are labeled fairly.”
To view NCC’s policy brief on plant and cell-based products, please click here.