North Dakota Governor Signs Meat Labeling Bill

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North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed legislation supported by the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota that defines meat and prohibits deceptive marketing practices used to promote cell-cultured alternative protein products to consumers. The following statement can be attributed to Dwight Keller, I-BAND President: “I-BAND members appreciate Governor Burgum’s swift action to sign this bill into law. The measure will ensure consumers are properly informed through point-of-sale labeling about whether the beef they’re purchasing is grown conventionally or whether it’s produced in a laboratory. North Dakota legislators passed this bill with just one dissenting vote in each chamber and we’re grateful for how quickly it moved through the process. We also want to express our thanks to the measure’s primary sponsors, representatives Jim Schmidt, Dennis Johnson, Jeffery Magrum, Lisa Meier, Karen Rohr, Bernie Satrom and Senators Dwight Cook and Don Schaible. Their support in this effort has been invaluable.”

“I-BAND will be moving forward now to address the appropriate labeling of plant-based protein products that mimic beef, an issue that was not covered under the labeling legislation that is now North Dakota law. Most evolving meat substitutes are designed to have a certain resemblance to conventionally produced meat and this is going to require absolute transparency with consumers about the materials and production practices used to manufacture them. It is very important that these products be labeled clearly at the point of sale so consumers understand precisely what they’re purchasing and I-BAND will continue to work on this issue.”

In November, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture announced the two agencies will hold joint oversight of lab cultured food products. FDA will oversee cell collection and growth as well as cell banks. The USDA will provide oversight of production and labeling of food products grown in laboratories from the cells of livestock and poultry. The North Dakota legislature also passed House Concurrent Resolution 3024, which urges Congress to take similar action on the federal level to differentiate traditionally produced meat from lab-grown products as well as plant or insect-based products designed to mimic meat.

-Independent Beef Association of North Dakota