A Missouri bill seeks to more strictly define “meat” so that lab-grown meats and plant-based meat alternatives cannot label themselves with the word meat.
Missouri HB 2607 seeks to “[prohibit] misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Introduced by Senator Sandy Crawford (R-MO), the bill could effectively limit the ability of companies like Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger to label their products as vegetarian meats.
“As other substitutes come forward in the marketplace, I think our agricultural community is getting concerned about the loss of share, share of the market that they may have,” Rep. Deb Lavender (D-MO) told the Intercept. Lavender argued that the bill may not be necessary, as consumers can tell the difference between meats and meat alternatives.
“People are not going to mistake a veggie burger for a hamburger. And so, to think that we need to have anybody selling foods in Missouri have a different label is just a little bit unreasonable,” said Lavender.
Meat Industry Hall of Fame President Chuck Jolley sounded concerned in a blog post about plant-based meat alternatives.
“After years of hanging around the far distant fringes of even the most healthier-than-thou hippy co-ops and vegetarian prone supermarkets, faux burgers and holiday tofurky products are becoming mainstream,” wrote Jolley.
Jolley’s not wrong: plant-based substitutes for meat are on the rise, and according to a report from Markets and Markets, meat substitutes are expected to be a $6.43 billion industry by 2023.
They’re also becoming more and more mainstream. Shake Shack and White Castle recently announced that they were adding the plant-based Impossible Burger to their menus, and more major chains could very well follow suit.
During a similar debate over plant-based alternatives to dairy last year, Plant Based Foods Association executive director Michele Simon told the New York Times, “There’s no cow on any of these containers of almond milk or soy milk. No one is trying to fool consumers. All they’re trying to do is create a better alternative for people who are looking for that option.”
So, what can you do? If you’re in Missouri, you can contact your representative and let them know you support the right of plant-based meat substitute companies to market their products as they wish.
If you’re not in Missouri, you can continue to support plant-based companies. You can even try making some vegan meat alternatives at home. Here’s a guide on how to make Seitan that you can use in this Seitan Parmigiana or this Homemade Seitan Roast. And you can even make your own tofu to use in this Spicy Black Pepper Tofu and this Turmeric Tofu Cashew Curry.
For more plant-based cooking info, download the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day.
Lead Image Source: Shutterstock