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Iowa Enacts Labeling Law Against Plant-Based and Cultured Meats and Eggs

May 23, 2024
Does not prohibit them but requires declarations such as 'fake,’ ‘imitation’ and ‘grown in a lab.’ Dairy is not mentioned.

Iowa’s governor on May 22 signed a law requiring labels for lab-grown and plant-based meat and egg alternatives that clearly indicate they are not from animals. It does not mention dairy products.

Senate File 2391, dubbed the "meat integrity act" by its backers, was touted by Republican lawmakers as a way to protect Iowa-based products from what they say is unfair competition, while increasing transparency for consumers, according to the Des Moines Register. Democrats, many of whom opposed the bill, warned the law could lead to national brands being off-limits to Iowa buyers.

The new law, which goes into effect July 1, suggests label statements such as cell-cultivated, cell-cultured, fake, grown in a lab, imitation, lab-created, lab-grown, meat free, meatless, plant, plant-based, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggie, “or a comparable word or phrase as approved by the department” (the state’s Dept. of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing).

Food processors, retailers and restaurants can be fined $500-$10,000 for not complying. The law also prevents school districts, community colleges, state-owned universities and some other public institutions from purchasing cultivated meat.

“This legislation prohibits companies from exploiting the trust consumers have with our livestock producers and misleading consumers into buying products they don’t want,” Gov. Kim Reynolds wrote on the state website. “This is about transparency. It’s about the common-sense idea that a product labeled chicken, beef, or pork, should actually come from an animal."

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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