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House Asks FDA to Clarify Plant-Based Food Labels

  • On June 30, the House Committee on Appropriations approved the Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Funding Bill. In a report accompanying the bill, the Committee specifically encouraged the FDA to provide clarity around the labeling of plant-based foods that use traditional meat, dairy, and egg terminology.

  • The Committee stated that they are “aware of the ongoing debate around plant-based product labels and the use of traditional meat, dairy, and egg terminology. However, the Committee is concerned by the assertions being made that labeling of these products are misleading, deceptive, and confusing to consumers.” For instance, the Committee pointed out the certain foods are labeled as a fish or seafood product, but are instead “highly-processed plant-based foods rather than derived from actual fish or seafood.” Thus, the Committee directed the FDA to assess the products on the market to determine whether any action is needed to ensure that consumers are not misled.

  • The Committee also stated that they will provide $5,000,000 to support alternative protein research encompassing all stages of the production process, including optimizing ingredient processing techniques and developing new manufacturing methods.

  • Relatedly, on June 29, the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR) released a list of draft and final guidance topics to be completed within the next 12 months. One of the documents that the Agency plans to issue is a draft guidance on the labeling of plant-based milks. However, as per FoodNavigator-USA, the FDA would not state whether it plans to also issue guidance on the labeling of cheese, yogurt, meat, seafood, and/or egg alternatives.

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 188
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About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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