Iowa Senate passes various regulations on meat alternatives

Members of the Iowa Senate voted unanimously on a bill on Feb. 27 that would require cultivated meat and plant-based meat alternatives be labeled as “meatless” or “imitation” when selling the products in the state.

The proposed legislation, Senate File 2391, passed 49-0, and now moves onto the Iowa House.

State Senator Dawn Driscoll was a vocal supporter of the legislation and received support from various groups across Iowa, including the Iowa Cattleman’s Association.

“This legislation protects against nefarious labeling of fake meat and keeps petri dish proteins out of supplemental nutrition programs and Iowa,” Driscoll said on Facebook.

As part of the bill, food processing companies could not label meat alternatives, including plant-based and insect-based products, as meat. Similar rules would apply if a business wanted to use common words on packaging like “bacon” and “burger” unless the label also included “veggie,” “plant-based,” or “meatless.”

If passed, food processors and restaurants could face civil penalties between $500 and $10,000 per offense.

Another measure in the bill stated that if the Supplemental Nutrition Association Program (SNAP) allows for cultivated meat to be purchased in the United States, Iowa must file a waiver or other exception that excludes the product from program eligibility in the state of Iowa.

The proposed legislation directs the Iowa Board of Regents to instruct school districts, community colleges and other institutions not to purchase cultivated meat.