Beef with cultured meat: US Cattlemen’s Association in labelling row
As cultured meat appears increasingly promising, anxieties are coming to the surface over how consumers will be able to distinguish between beef harvested in the ‘traditional manner’ and waves of alternatives.
SLOW PROGRESS: Currently, speed of production and the costs associated with it are holding cultured meat back
A trade association and lobbying group for beef producers has appealed to the American Government to get tougher on labelling when it comes to the new wave of cultured meat.
The US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) submitted a petition last week to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service asking it to establish labelling requirements to inform consumers on the difference between beef products derived from cattle and those created in a laboratory.
Lab-grown, cultured or in vitro meat has caught the attention of many start-ups though it has been only five years since the first cultured beef burger, courtesy of Maastricht University, was cooked live on air and there has been little progress towards mass commercialisation.
It entails producing meat through tissue culture and has been hailed as a solution not just to the issue of animal cruelty but also of food security brought on by a booming population.
The USCA’s petition includes a series of exhibits, including dictionary definitions of beef sourced from a variety of websites and newspaper clippings. The petition along with the supporting document can be seen here.
USCA President Kenny Graner said: “Accurate labelling of U.S. beef products has always been a number one priority for the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association. Our members brought forth their concern with the labelling of products as “meat” that are not in fact derived from bovine animals and USCA leadership and staff moved ahead with this petition to address that concern.
“Consumers depend upon the USDA FSIS to ensure that the products they purchase at the grocery store match their label descriptions. We look forward to working with the agency to rectify the misleading labelling of “beef” products that are made with plant or insect protein or grown in a petridish. US cattle producers take pride in developing the highest quality, and safest, beef in the world, and labels must clearly distinguish that difference.”