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Lab-Grown Meat Is Not Beef, Say Ranchers

Cattle groups are saddling up to make sure that consumers know beef comes from animals, not from cells grown indoors. The activist U.S. Cattlemen’s Association has petitioned the USDA to define beef as the product of cattle born, raised, and slaughtered in the traditional manner. “We look forward to working with the agency to rectify the misleading labeling of ‘beef’ products that are made with plant or insect protein or grown in a petri dish,” says USCA President Kenny Graner.  

Similarly, the larger National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says one of its five policy priorities for the year is “protecting the industry and consumers from fake meat and misleading labels on products that do not contain real beef.” 

Two of the largest U.S. food processors, Tyson Foods and Cargill, have invested in Memphis Meats, which intends to grow meat from animal cells. Tyson also has a small stake in Beyond Meat, a producer of plant-based proteins. The dispute could heat up as “clean” meat, a name given to cell-cultured meat, gets closer to market. 

This article was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent, nonprofit news organization producing investigative reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.

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