The Alabama Senate unanimously granted final passage Thursday to legislation protecting consumers from protein grown in laboratories being labeled as “meat.” The bill cleared a Senate committee earlier in the week.
HB 518 by Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, states “a food product that contains cultured animal tissue produced from animal cell cultures outside of the organism from which it is derived may not be labeled as meat or a meat food product.” The bill also applies to poultry. Sen. David Sessions, R-Grand Bay, carried the bill in the Senate.
“This is proactive legislation to ensure clarity in food labeling. Around the country, there are more and more companies trying to market lab-grown products as meat, which is misleading since they aren’t derived from actual livestock production,” Sessions said.
Beef is a $2.5 billion industry in Alabama with over 20,000 cattle farms contributing to the economy.
“As alternative proteins enter the marketplace in coming years, we think it is imperative that the integrity of all meat labels are protected and clear for consumers when they go to the meat case,” said Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association. “The passage of this bill is a win-win for the consumers who love to buy beef, and the cattlemen who work hard to produce a high-quality product. We would like to thank the Alabama Legislature for the support of this bill and especially Sen. David Sessions and Rep. Danny Crawford for carrying the bill.”
Earlier this year, delegates of the American Farm Bureau Federation approved policy opposing the use of traditional meat terms to describe cell-based protein and plant-based meat alternatives.