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California slicksters gear up to fight Missouri beef producers over labelling fake meat

DanComaniciu / ThinkStock Lab grown meat
A legislative fight is shaping up in Missouri that could set a precedent for whether or not fake meat companies can continue to mislead consumers.

Source: Missouri Cattlemen’s Association

Here’s a question with long-term ramifications: what happens when some slicked-up Californians go up against a bunch of Missouri beef producers who are as stubborn as the mules the state was famous for in a bygone era?

In due time, we’ll know the answer. That’s because Missouri is the first state to address with legislation the problem of fake meat companies fooling consumers with misleading labels.

The Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) is aggressively pushing legislation that prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock.

"The legislation simply prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry. That's the entire bill. It ensures the integrity of the meat supply here in the state," says MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering.

Not everyone agrees. The association has recently met opposition from Redwood City, Calif.- based, Impossible Foods. According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, the company recently hired three Missouri lobbyists from the firm Catalyst Group, presumably to defeat legislation sponsored by Sen. Sandy Crawford (R-28) and Rep. Jeff Knight (R-129). This company produces a plant-based product imitating hamburgers. Deering believes the company has no problems misrepresenting their products as meat.

"This association is not in any way whatsoever opposed to plant-based proteins or other safe food technologies," says Deering. "We are opposed to deceiving consumers and misrepresenting a product as something it's not."

According to the company's website, their mission is to "make delicious meats that are good for people and the planet." Their website goes further to say: "The world loves meat. But relying on cows to make meat is land-hungry, water-thirsty, and pollution-heavy."

"Not only does this California company have no problem calling this product meat, which is ludicrous, it also makes no secret about its anti-livestock production stance by spouting myths about this industry," Deering says. "Attacking Missouri's farm and ranch families is bad enough, but deceiving consumers is what this legislation will stop."

MCA President Greg Buckman says Missouri farm and ranch families care for their livestock and invest a lot of time and money in ensuring the consumer has a safe, nutritious and affordable product.

"Lab grown, imitation food products or even plant-based proteins should not use nomenclature that confuses the consumer and misrepresents their products as something that it's clearly not," Buckman says.

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