Texas lawmakers OK bill barring plant-based products from using ‘meat’ or ‘beef’ on packaging

U.S. & World

(Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Texas lawmakers have a major beef with plant-based protein products.

On Monday, the Texas House voted to approve a bill intending to prohibit the makers of plant-based meat alternatives from using the words “meat,” “beef,” “chicken” or “pork” on product packaging. These stipulations would apply to the manufacturers of insect-based alternatives or cell-cultured alternatives as well.

The bill, introduced by Texas state Rep. Brad Buckley, a Republican, argues that protein alternatives labeled with such terminology may be “misleading” or “deceptive” to consumers.

Under the proposed law, the producers of such meat alternatives would need to prominently label each product with the words “analogue,” “meatless” or “plant-based,” among other qualifying terms, and “cell-cultured” or “lab-grown” for foods made from cultures derived from animal muscle tissue.

The bill was approved nearly unanimously by the Committee on Public Health and passed to engrossment on Monday, a representative for the Public Health Committee confirmed. It would still need to win approval in the Senate.

Still, House Bill 316 wasn’t approved without some debate.

Even Republican Rep. Kyle Biedermann, while ultimately in support of the bill, argued that Texas shouldn’t “need to have to legislate more regulation” of the products’ manufacturers, the Dallas Morning News reported.

In response to news of the bill’s approval on Monday, Impossible Foods, one of the most visible brands in the plant-based protein industry, further claimed that there is no “confusion” among consumers of meat or meatless products.

“Impossible Foods stands for truth and transparency,” a spokesperson for the brand wrote in an emailed statement. “That’s why our products are clearly labeled ‘made from plants.’ There is no evidence of consumer confusion. In fact, our extraordinary sales growth is due precisely to the fact that consumers are, in record levels, seeking out and buying foods without any animal ingredients.”

Buckley, however, had argued in the House that without regulations such as those proposed in the bill, the producers of any new alternative proteins would be entrusted to “accurately represent” their own products, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

He also claimed that vegetarians are among the bill’s biggest supporters, saying the proposed regulations are not “anti-plant based” or “anti-cell culture,” the Dallas Morning News reported.

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