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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday February 27 2018, @01:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-what's-for-dinner dept.

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop an official definition for terms like "meat" and "beef", as plant-based alternatives to meats continue to grow in popularity and lab-grown/cultured meat may be coming soon:

Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are combining plant-based ingredients and science, rather than animals, to create fake-meat burgers and other products that taste like the real thing.

Now U.S. Cattlemen's Association is looking to draw a line in the sand. The association launched what could be the first salvo in a long battle against plant-based foods. Earlier this month, the association filed a 15-page petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture calling for an official definition for the term "beef," and more broadly, "meat."

"While at this time alternative protein sources are not a direct threat to the beef industry, we do see improper labeling of these products as misleading," said Lia Biondo, the association's policy and outreach director. "Our goal is to head off the problem before it becomes a larger issue."

[...] While these foods are commonly dubbed "fake meat," there's a little more to the meat-substitute market than that. The Good Food Institute, which advocates a sustainable food supply, breaks it down into two categories: clean meat and plant-based meat. Clean meat refers to "meat" grown in a lab from a small amount of animal stem cells. This kind of meat isn't on the market yet, but it's in development. Plant-based meat is anything that mimics traditional meat but is made mainly using plant ingredients.

Here's an idea: define "meat" for the Cattlemen's Association, then tax it with an exemption for "lab-grown meat".

Related: Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality
Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years
Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson Backed Memphis Meats Expects Meat From Cells in Stores by 2021
Meat Tax Proposed for Sake of Human and Environmental Health.


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:01AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27 2018, @06:01AM (#644502)

    I think most people agree on the need to clearly define meat. There is both snarky comments as well as discussions straying away from this central fact.

    First: Both vegans and Cattlemen's (as well as related associations for other farm/factory raised livestock) need 'meat' clearly defined. The former so it can be clear what is acceptable consumables for vegans (hint: While it's primarily advertised as 'meat haters' the real definition is people who do not eat animal products/byproducts. This means animal cell derived proteins would still not be kosher if the meat was synthetically produced. Furthermore depending on the plant derived synthmeat products, some of them might not qualify due to having products or byproducts incorporated in them which are not naturally found in plants, but only in animals. Vegetarians have more leeway on this since most can eat animal byproducts and the restrictions are only on certain animals flesh (IE fish is acceptable to some sects of vegetarians, while poultry, pork, and beef are not.)

    I agree with others that there will at minimum be three classifications needed: Farm grown animal meat. Laboratory grown animal meat. And plant derived meat substitutes containing no animal derived products. There are very likely other permutations which also need to be documented, long the long running real or imagined use of soybeans in McDonald's burgers, making a hybrid meat patty that would qualify as neither 'pure' meat, nor synthetic vegan/vegetarian meat product.

    Clear and difficult to game descriptions of food products are important to educated consumer selection of acceptable products. Whether pro-meat, or pro-vegetable, clearly defining where these boundaries lies is important for both sides to choose products that meat their required qualifications and pedigree.

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  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday February 27 2018, @07:50AM

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday February 27 2018, @07:50AM (#644526) Journal
    "I think most people agree on the need to clearly define meat. There is both snarky comments as well as discussions straying away from this central fact."

    Off to a good start.

    "First: Both vegans and Cattlemen's (as well as related associations for other farm/factory raised livestock) need 'meat' clearly defined."

    ^^

    "The former so it can be clear what is acceptable consumables for vegans (hint: While it's primarily advertised as 'meat haters' the real definition is people who do not eat animal products/byproducts. This means animal cell derived proteins would still not be kosher"

    Oh, wait, did you just try to say כשר?

    Yeah that brings up another group of people who need for food products to be clearly labeled.

    And there are more than one more.

    Let's just generalize it, ok? People who care what they put in their body.

    We may not all have the same values but we ALL want accurate information before deciding if we will eat.

    The problem with too many of these proposals that I am hearing is they boil down to "Mandate the information I consider important is printed on the label BUT DO NOT print the information the uncultured poop-heads I don't like care to know."

    I understand there is only so much room on the label and I try to look for voluntary labels instead of relying on the required anyway, what bothers me most is the perception that we no longer even try to appear to be fair to each other.
    --
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