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Should Plant-Based Meat Have an ‘Imitation’ Label?

If you haven’t noticed the skyrocketing popularity of plant-based foods, you may be living under a rock. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have not only experienced tremendous growth, but have secured numerous partnerships with restaurants around the globe that now feature their plant-based burgers and other products. Now more than ever, consumers are clamoring for vegan and vegetarian alternatives, and plant-based companies are delivering. With these products now readily available at grocery stores across the country, a new bipartisan bill is calling for clear labeling, to make sure consumers know exactly what they’re getting.

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The proposed bill requires beef that’s not derived from cows to include a label stating “imitation.” Known as the Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act, the bill was introduced by Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) from New York and Rep. Roger Marshall (R) from Kansas. As it’s currently written, the bull suggests the label would prevent confusion and help “ensure that consumers can make informed decisions in choosing between meat products such as beef and imitation meat products.”

In a statement, Brindisi explained, “American families have a right to know what’s in their food… Accurate labeling helps consumers make informed decisions and helps ensure families have access to a safe, abundant, affordable food supply.”

Those advocating for plant-based products say the bill is an attempt to stigmatize plant-based foods. Current laws on meat labeling vary from state to state, but with the rising popularity of plant-based meat products, the question of what should be allowed to be labeled meat is one that has been raised numerous times.

What do you think? Should plant-based meat products have an ‘imitation’ label?