Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall and New York Congressman Anthony Brindisi have introduced bipartisan federal legislation called the Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act of 2019. Drafted with the assistance and support of NCBA and KLA, the bill sets out to protect consumers from deceptive marketing practices related to plant-based, fake meat products.
Language in the proposed legislation would establish a federal definition of beef that applies to food labels. It would reinforce existing misbranding provisions to eliminate consumer confusion.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed for decades to initiate meaningful enforcement action against a host of misbranded products. One provision of Marshall’s bill would require fake products to prominently display the term imitation in the product name.
Currently, FDA does not pre-approve food product labels, leaving any potential enforcement to take place after a product already has entered the market and the damage has been done. Marshall’s bill would address this issue by requiring FDA to notify USDA immediately when an imitation meat product is misbranded or the labeling is misleading to consumers. Should FDA fail to initiate enforcement proceedings, the U.S. secretary of agriculture is granted authority to seek enforcement action.
“We appreciate Congressman Marshall stepping up in defense of KLA members and America’s consumers by introducing this bill aimed at greater labeling accountability for imitation meat products,” said KLA Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden. “This legislation will rein in false labeling and clarify for consumers what is real beef and what is fake.”
KLA members will discuss the introduction of similar legislation at the state level during the annual convention, December 4-6 in Wichita.