By. Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Report
For the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of discussion showing up on alternate sources of protein. “Here we go again” is a phrase heard time and time again from those in the meat business, as they see the threat against true beef, pork and lamb meat products rise up again. Even those in the poultry and goat business are concerned.
One of the reasons for discussion on this topic is news out of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) saying they are investing $10 million over a five-year span to fund Tufts University to develop alternative proteins. These proteins would be grown in a petri dish or bioreactors in a lab. The USDA, as expected, has been receiving numerous comments from feeders and producers, especially those in the beef business.
The focus for the last two months has been a 60-day comment period, which closed on Dec. 2, for a proposed rule on the labeling of these fake products. Let’s face the facts here: This movement is based on money, but the reasons given to the public to manufacture fake products are untrue and misleading. The same goes for plant-based products meant to replace meat.
The movement behind fake meats is being pushed by some of America’s wealthiest people involved in the climate change issue. They are using climate change, sustainability, nutrition and health to promote meat imitation products.
In America, people can buy any type of food they wish. Myself being in the beef business, I’m going to support beef. Those of us who support beef support proper labeling of real meat products and imitation meat products.
Proper labeling of all products lets the consumer know exactly what is in the package. Then, consumers can make up their minds on which product they want for dinner – real meat, something grown in a lab or something derived from plants, which has numerous additives to make it taste like the real meat ranchers produce.
If people want to eat “glorified dog food,” it’s their choice, but they should know and understand what is in the product. There are numerous products out there which have “artificial” on the label, why not these artificial meats?
A recent survey revealed when consumers are purchasing protein, 74 percent wanted labels showing if it was real meat or not. Consumers shouldn’t be confused when buying protein for the evening meal which is real meat, cell-cultured or plant-based. Consumers also want to know what is on the school lunch tray. There should be guidelines, as there are for cattle producers on the correct use of antibiotics, with these cultured meat products.
Those in the meat business, including everyone from producers to processors, can stand behind their inspected products and guarantee the consumer safe, tasteful and nutritious protein. Hopefully the 26 percent surveyed with no concerns over labeling will learn to read and realize just what they are eating.