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The US Cattlemen’s Association [USCA] has filed a petition with the US Department of Agriculture asking it to narrow the definition of ‘meat’ to flesh from traditionally-reared livestock.
Companies like these have secured large amounts of funding from high profile investors – and have suggested they will disrupt the traditional face of meat production.
Clean meat – known as lab, bio, or cultured meat – is built using animal cells. Some scientists also use foetal blood plasma harvested from unborn calves (though some brands say they have developed technology to avoid this).
Clean meat is therefore currently not vegan, though some vegans choose to support the concept, as it has the potential to reduce the number of animals slaughtered for food.
It is also a more environmentally-friendly option than traditional livestock farming. In addition, meat grown in sterile lab conditions does not require massive amounts of antibiotics – which are used at scale in intensive farms.
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The USCA wants the Government to force clean meat producers to differentiate the product from traditional beef.
According to the organization: “The labels of ‘beef’ or ‘meat’ should inform consumers that the product is derived naturally from animals as opposed to alternative proteins such as plants and insects or artificially grown in a laboratory.
“Alternative products such as those described above should thus not be permitted to be labeled as ‘beef’, which is widely understood by consumers to be the flesh of a bovine animal, such as cattle, harvested for use as food, or as ‘meat’, which is understood to be derived from animal tissue or flesh for use as food.”
The USCA has also requested that department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service [FSIS] narrows the definition of ‘meat’.
It wants the label to exclude plant-based or lab-grown products, saying ‘products that are labeled as ‘meat’ should be limited to those that are derived from the tissue or flesh of an animal harvested in the traditional manner.
According to the USCA, it wants these changes to be made ‘to eliminate the likelihood of confusion and to better inform consumers’.