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NCBA stakes out fake meat

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Fake meat is the issue on the grill in Washington, D.C. today.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is moving the issue front and center for the protection of cattle producers.

The issue is hot in a couple of states as well: Minnesota and Missouri. It all starts in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill in Washington and in state legislatures. Then it goes through the sausage grinder of federal and state law with some interesting twists.

An explanation of how the beef industry says fake meat should be regulated, in the program below.

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Congress is working on the 2019 Fiscal Year Budget, which includes work on the 2019 Agriculture Budget. In fact, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture passed a budget bill last week. In it, language regarding the regulation of so called “fake meat” products.

Danielle Beck, of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, has been at the forefront of the fake meat situation that has come on the scene in recent months. Beck is aggressively pushing for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take a stance on this issue before the waters can be muddied. She spoke to Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network.

Beck says the bill, recently passed through the House Subcommittee, requires U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to regulate products made from the cells of livestock and poultry species, as defined under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. It also requires that USDA issue regulations prescribing the type and frequency of inspection required for the manufacturer and processing of these products, as well as other requirements necessary to prevent their adulteration and misbranding. While some say the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) should have authority here, Beck insists the USDA must assert its jurisdiction.

“It is critically important that USDA assert jurisdiction and be the primary regulator because USDA is the only agency that will guarantee an even playing field for lab grown products and traditional products,” Beck said. “It will ensure that all labeling claims are science-based and do not disparage traditional products.”

Beck reports Missouri and Minnesota have already advanced their own legislation, regulating fake meat labeling in their states, and adds there is growing interest from other states to do the same. Beck says this is just another example of why USDA should act now.

“We don’t want to find ourselves with a patchwork of conflicting state regulations. That’s not good for anybody,” Beck said. “USDA needs to take action sooner rather than later so there’s clear regulation from the federal level.”

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