Legal analysis: State meat labeling laws probably violate federal law
February 7, 2019
Recently passed state laws that restrict the use of the term "meat" to the edible portion of livestock and poultry appear to be in violation of laws that says only the federal government can determine those labels, Robert Hibbert and Amaru Sanchez of the Morgan Lewis law firm have written in an analysis of the jurisdictional issues surrounding cell-cultured protein.
"Language in both the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspections Act (the acts) explicitly states that marking, labeling, and ingredients requirements in addition to or different from those required under the acts may not be imposed by any state or territory," Hibbert and Sanchez wrote. "This hidden superpower that attaches to all FSIS-regulated products has consistently been invoked by the meat and poultry industries to turn away any number of state and local initiatives attempting to make such impositions."
They continued, "Notwithstanding this clear statutory language, several states have recently enacted laws or introduced legislation imposing new labeling requirements and/or restrictions for food products wanting to use the term 'meat' on their labels. In general, these state initiatives restrict the use of the term 'meat' to the edible portion of any livestock or poultry carcass. Some of these state initiatives even go so far as to criminalize food products that are inconsistent with a state's requirements. The ever-growing list of states undertaking such initiatives includes Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming."