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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. 

Copyright © 2020 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 94

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About this Author

Robert Hibbert, Civil litigation attorney, Morgan Lewis
Partner

Robert G. Hibbert advises clients in the food and agricultural industries on federal regulation, particularly relating to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clients seek his counsel on labeling, advertising, recalls, food safety compliance, animal health, and new product development issues. Bob’s experience with civil litigation in federal court includes successful challenges to the scope of USDA jurisdiction and authority over major segments of the food processing industry.

202-739-5611
Amaru Sanchez, Morgan Lewis, Life sciences lawyer
Associate

Amaru J. Sanchez provides substantive legal and strategic advice to FDA clients in matters concerning regulatory compliance, enforcement issues, and public policy. Amaru’s advice spans a variety of FDA regulated products including medical devices, software as a medical device, prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as foods and food additives.

1.202.739.5655