N. Dakota beef group supports bill for accurate labeling of lab-grown meat
1/14/2019 ~ I-BAND leadership today announced the organization’s support for HB1400, legislation introduced in the North Dakota legislature by Representative James Schmidt and Senator Don Schaible that will regulate consumer labeling of alternative meat products. The bill, which will require that alternative meat products be labeled accurately and plainly as to the production practice used in the manufacturing process, joins similar legislation currently being considered in Nebraska, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming as well as a bill passed in Missouri last year. I-BAND has been instrumental in drafting the North Dakota bill and bringing the legislation forward.
Dwight Keller, I-BAND President, said the bill will ensure clarity in meat labeling for consumers. “Consumers are the beef industry’s number one asset,” noted Keller. “Today’s consumer is demanding more and more information about the food products they purchase for their families. It’s imperative for us to ensure they are informed at the point of sale about whether the meat they’re purchasing is derived from an animal in the traditional manner or whether it’s cultured in a laboratory. Deceptive labeling could mislead reasonable people to believe cultured or lab-grown meat is produced in the traditional manner and it is not. This is about truth in advertising.”
Keller pointed to seafood labeling requirements as an example of how consumers benefit from mandated labeling accuracy. “Under a production practices provision in the seafood labeling law, retailers are required to identify for consumers at the point of sale whether uncooked seafood is harvested in the wild by fishermen or if it’s farmed. For many consumers that’s key information and they purchase accordingly. It’s reasonable to assume that when cultured seafood grown in a laboratory hits retail shelves the production practice used will also be made transparent for consumers.”
“I-BAND members are unanimous in their desire to do whatever possible to ensure and expand consumer transparency,” said Keller. “Science is quickly advancing new production methods for food and as those evolve we must be mindful about modernizing the rules and regulations that govern how the consuming public is informed about what they are purchasing. The first step towards that end is updating North Dakota’s Century Code to define traditional meat such as beef and we have been working hard with legislators and staff to develop appropriate language. As we move through the legislative process with this bill, I-BAND will continue its grassroots effort working with lawmakers so they understand our intention to build on the trusting relationship the North Dakota beef industry has with consumers. We urge every member of the legislature to consider signing onto this bill and help push it over the finish line.
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