Maryland Looking At Meat Labeling Legislation

It’s not just the state of Washington that looking this session to identify what meat is and is not.

 

Twelve Republican senators are sponsoring a bill in the Maryland General Assembly that focuses on meat products that are made from plants or insects or contain lab-grown animal tissue.  The bill states that a food is “misbranded” if it’s for sale in Maryland, the label reads “meat” and the product contains or is made from those alternative-meat sources.

 

“It’s basically trying to get back to, ‘OK, if it’s going to be labeled meat then it needs to be the real thing. It can’t be artificial alternatives to it, even in the case of the lab-grown tissue, animal tissue that now wants to be labeled as meat because I grew it in a petri dish,” according to Colby Ferguson, government relations director at the Maryland Farm Bureau. “Those all need to be properly labeled.”

 

The bill was first read on Jan. 15, and the first hearing was Thursday.  The Maryland Farm Bureau supports, saying truthful and accurate labels allow consumers to make informed decisions.

 

“You’re not being given a false reality of what an alternative may or may not actually provide,” Ferguson said, referring to health and nutrition benefits.

 

The bill is similar to a milk and milk-based products bill that was approved by Gov. Larry Hogan in May 2019.  That bill prohibits the labeling of food products as milk unless they meet the definition of milk, which is a “lacteal secretion, practically free of colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy hooved mammals.”  This includes cattle, sheep and goats.

 

According to CNBC, the market for meat substitutes will hit an estimated $2.5 billion by 2023.

 

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