Where’s the Beef? Citizens Group Advocates Certain Limitations on Definitions of ‘Beef’ and ‘Meat’
In a petition (USCA Petition) submitted to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on February 9, the US Cattlemen’s Association requests that FSIS exclude from the statutory definitions of “meat” and “beef” those products that are not “derived from animals born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner.” Such excluded products would presumably include plant-based products that resemble the appearance and taste of beef products and cell-cultured meat (CCM)—meat grown in a cell culture instead of culled from an animal (jointly, Alternative Products). The USCA Petition presents the following assertions to support such exclusions:
- Alternative Products, it maintains, do not meet the common dictionary or statutory/regulatory definitions of “meat,” “beef,” and related terms because the definitions contemplate products derived naturally from animals.
- The marketing of Alternative Products is potentially misleading because consumers would reasonably expect products labeled as “meat” and “beef” to be derived from animals slaughtered in the traditional manner.
While these assertions are relatively straightforward, the USCA Petition also raises certain procedural questions concerning the vehicle for FSIS to accommodate the petitioner’s position.