New Nebraska Bill Defining Meat as Derived from Livestock or Poultry
Last week, we blogged about Nebraska Legislative Bill 14 (LB 14), which would have limited the use of the term “meat” to the edible portions of livestock or poultry carcasses. It would have specifically excluded insect- or plant-based products as well as lab-grown products from the definition. Under the proposed bill, engaging in any misleading or deceptive practices with regard to the marketing of foods as meat, would have been a Class I misdemeanor. This proposed bill has been withdrawn with Nebraska Legislative Bill 594 (LB 594) introduced to replace it.
- As some additional background, the use of the term “meat” as part of the name for cell-cultured, or lab-grown, products has been a matter of fierce debate within industry, even though no such products are available for market. Missouri already has a law on the books and there are several other states considering similar acts. This battle may be considered alongside the dispute over the use of “rice” to describe vegetables (e.g. “cauliflower rice” as a name for finely cut cauliflower) and the use of “milk” for plant-based beverages (e.g. “rice milk”), each of which pit an entrenched food with brand equity and a set of consumer expectations against new, or revised, versions of the food that have some similarity to the original. For more, see our posts here, here, and here.
- LB 594 maintains the definition of meat from LB 14, but under LB 594 it would be an unfair trade practice to market as meat any product that falls outside of the definition of meat. Per the article in Food Safety News, citing a statement given to Meatingplace, attaching the restriction to the unfair trade practices act provides for a built-in enforcement mechanism.