SAN FRANCISCO – American livestock farming and agricultural offices will not give up the word meat without a fight.
In recent weeks, beef and beef producers have persuaded regulators in more than twelve countries to introduce laws that would unlawfully use the word meat to describe burgers and sausages made from plant components or grown in laboratories. Only this week, new meat marking invoices were introduced in Arizona and Arkansas.
These meat alternatives can be seen and tasted and even bleed like meat, but livestock farmers want to make sure that new competition can not use the meat label.
"The word meat, for me, should mean a product from a live animal," said Jim Dinklage, a rancher and president of the Independent Cattle Nebraska, who testified in his country for supporting legislation on meat labeling.
Striving for the laws on the labeling of countries reflects how quickly companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which produce burgers of plant ingredients, are confronted with the traditional meat industry. Sales of plant substitutes for meat increased by 22 percent to $ 1.5 billion last year, according to Euromonitor International, a market research firm.
Other newly created companies are approaching to create chickens and sausages from actual meat cells that are grown in the laboratory. Although not yet commercially viable, traditional meat producers are concerned that meat that has been grown in laboratories may eventually become a cheap alternative with little regulatory control.
"About a year and a half ago it was not even on my radar," said Mark Dopp, Head of Regulatory Affairs at the North American Meat Association. "This is getting closer and closer. This is likely to happen in the near future, so we need to have a regulatory system for dealing with this issue. "
Producers of meat argue that they do not want to lose control over labeling, such as the dairy industry that has lost the battle, so that producers of almonds and soybeans use the word milk for their beverages. Producers of eggs and even mayonnaise faced similar colors.
"The almond does not produce milk," said Bill Pigott, a republican state representative in Mississippi, who wrote the legislation there. She is the owner of a farm that has produced both milk and beef. But his worries surpassed the almond and soy fluid, marked with milk.
"Fake, laboratory-made meat is a bit more than a type of science fiction that worries me more," said Pigott.
He presented his account in January when a local animal breeders association was linked to him. This was held in the State House and awaiting discussion in the State Senate.
Different legislative efforts are likely to face major challenges – not just vegetarians.
The law in Virginia was voted after MEPs received a letter from the National Food Trade Association, the Food Producers' Association and the Association of Plant-based Foods that defended increasingly popular products. He said that they would require "new and unknown packaging that would only confuse customers and prevent retailers at a time when the demand for such options is constantly high," which is 23 percent per year.
The most restrictive proposal in Washington would be that crime will sell meat grown in laboratories and that state resources will be banned for research in the area, as some legislators say that it is not sufficiently known to consider this to be safe. The bill has not yet come to the polls.
Surprising coalitions are shaping around the future of laboratory-grown meat. The North American meat association said that it wanted meat to be grown in laboratories to name meat in order to ensure that new products would not be able to escape any rules that apply to traditional meat. And most of the big meat companies stay out of the debate. Some of them, including Tyson and Cargill, have invested in start-ups in laboratories.
In Nebraska, the law on meat labeling was written by Carol Blood, a senator of a democratic state from the suburbs of Omaha. Despite her surname, Mrs Blood has been a vegan for years.
She said she decided to pursue her account when she heard two women at her local Fresh Thyme supermarket expressing confusion as to whether a bundle of meat hamburgers contained meat from meat.
"I do not care that the hamburger writes – I like it to be flesh," said Mrs. Blood. "I have this thing that happens to me when people try to be fraudulent."
Beyond Meat is not actually produced with any meat. Its brand gets a bloody look from beet juice.
"We provide consumers with meat from plants and we think it is reasonable for the consumer and for us to label our products as meat on a vegetable basis," said Beyond Meat Executive Director Ethan Brown.
Last year, Missouri passed the first law, which prohibited businesses from "misrepresentation of the product as meat that was not obtained from produced livestock or poultry."
That law challenged Tofurky, which specializes in tofu and other soybean food products, as well as for the local branch of the American Union for Civil Liberties and other groups.
Sarah Sorscher, who is dealing with regulatory issues at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said there was not much evidence that consumers would be confused about the labeling of alternative meat companies.
"We believe that the question of whether the term" meat "is used is a proxy for this major issue, which means that the meat industry is concerned about the competition with these products," said Mrs Sorscher. "The bills seem not to be directed at solving the problem on the market. It's about fighting competition. "
Beyond Meat has received assurances from the Missouri authorities that its labels clearly indicate that the product is not flesh and that it will not oppose the new law.
The Institute for Good Food, which represents companies that produce meat on a plant-based basis and cell-based meat-based establishments, has sought to attract employees and lobbyists into state-owned capitals where laws are dealt with.
Jessica Almy, the director of the organization's policy, said she believed that most of the state laws and proposals would become controversial if and when the Agriculture Department would consider the labeling for meat grown in laboratories, He promised last year. Nevertheless, it argues that the country-specific designations could cause greater confusion for consumers.
"There is no real way to refer without the use of meat expressions," said Mrs Almy.
Mr Dinklage, the rector of Nebraska, said he was also interested in ensuring clarity for consumers. It also seeks to protect survival, which is constantly increasing.
"Just think what it actually costs over time in the lab compared to performing a ranking operation," he said. "It would be much cheaper and it would get me out of business."