NCBA has been driving efforts to determine which federal agency will regulate fake meat products, according to the organization’s Director of Government Affairs Danielle Beck. She told those attending the August 17 Flint Hills Beef Fest Producer Seminar in Emporia the only way fake meat will be on a level playing field from an inspection and labeling standpoint is under USDA jurisdiction.
“If these products fall under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jurisdiction, we lose,” said Beck.
She suggested NCBA has learned from the dairy industry. FDA has turned a blind eye to the law for decades, failing to take regulatory action against imitation products claiming to be milk. Beck said USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service won’t allow a fake meat label using the term “clean,” but FDA might. Any imitation product labeled as “clean” would imply real meat is inferior.
Purveyors of fake meat products have indicated a preference for FDA regulation. Beck said these companies don’t want to be held to the same scientific standard enforced by USDA on real meat.
“We’re glad to compete against any other protein for the center of the plate, but we want to do it on a level playing field,” she said.
Beck and others from NCBA met with White House officials this week to discuss the issue. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is on record supporting USDA jurisdiction.