CP Editorial: New labeling law will help Missourians know more about their meat

We have all experienced the overwhelming amount of decisions that come with grocery shopping for a meal.

Often the items we choose to place in our shopping carts depend on what the label says. Is it healthy enough? Does it have enough protein? What is it made out of? Luckily for Missourians, Senate Bill 627 and 925, also known as the Missouri Meat Advertising Law, is a boost of positive confidence as consumers receive a clear and honest view of what is actually in their shopping cart.

On Aug. 28, 2018, a bill in Missouri went into effect to forbid companies from “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested livestock or poultry.” Missouri became the first state with this type of legislation due to the efforts of one Missouri commodity organization. The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association worked tirelessly to pass this initiative due to the prevalence of “fake meat” in today’s news. This new lab-grown product is not produced from harvested livestock, but is grown from cells in a controlled environment and will result in consumer confusion if allowed to be called “meat.”   

As consumers, we should want an honest label that tells us exactly what our shopping dollars are going towards. The Meat Advertising Law will solve this very issue. According to EuroMoniter International, consumer spending on meat substitutes has increased 25.6 percent since 2012. Consumers are spending more on alternative meat products as the options keep growing, but what they are buying is not always real meat. From now on, consumers will know when they are buying meat and when they are not. By definition, if it comes from harvested livestock, it will be labeled as meat.

This law not only cares about the trust consumers have when buying a product, but also the hard work that producers have put into growing a wholesome meat product. If consumers are led to believe the meat they are buying is grown on a farm when in reality it came from a lab, then that trust will be destroyed.

“We’ve built this brand and we’re proud of this brand,” said Mike Deering, executive vice president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. Production agriculture has a reputation for wholesome food, and the Missouri Meat Advertising Law protects both producers and consumers.

Everyone is a consumer. Everyone buys groceries in some form or another. Everyone makes a choice. Now the choices consumers make about meat can be educated and honest. Consumers will benefit from a clear label, because the Missouri Meat Advertising Law is a boost of positive confidence for Missourians.

Madelyn Derks

About the Author Madelyn Derks

Bouncing around in the farm truck checking cows with my dad was one of my favorite memories as a little girl. From picking out my first cow to showing Boer goats with my brothers, agriculture has been an essential part of my family’s life. Growing up on a commercial Angus cow-calf operation in King City, Missouri, I have always felt a passion for the agriculture industry. My involvement within the industry inspired me to pursue my passion for advocating for farmers. Hello, my name is Madelyn Derks and I am an agribusiness management major with a minor in agriculture communications at the University of Missouri. After finishing my degree, I plan to work for an agriculture commodity group in public relations and promotion. This goal was jump started when I began competing in public speaking contests in the FFA and 4-H organizations. Throughout high school, FFA helped develop the leadership skills and soft skills that I use every day and will need in my career.