News

Ranchers Petition USDA to Define Beef

The United States Cattlemen Association filed a petition asking the USDA to limit the definition of "beef" to slaughtered animal flesh to eliminate competition from upcoming cultured meat.

The United States Cattlemen Association (USCA) filed a 15-page petition with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week to coerce the organization to define the term “beef” in anticipation of the debut of clean meat (meat grown without animal slaughter in a lab setting). The petition asked the USDA to define beef as products that “come from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner, rather than coming from alternative sources such as a synthetic product from plant, insects, or other non-animal components and any product grown in labs from animal cells.” Jessica Almy, director of policy at food advocacy firm The Good Food Institute (GFI) believes the petition is a violation of rights granted to organizations by the First Amendment and is an attempt to derail potential competition to the meat industry. “The USCA is clearly trying to stifle competition,” Almy told VegNews. “If the USCA really believed that their products were superior to plant-based and clean meat, they'd welcome a little healthy competition. But, instead, they petitioned the USDA for a harsh enforcement policy of unconstitutional naming conventions. Their approach is a direct attack on a diverse food supply, a free market, and consumer choice.” Last year, the dairy industry similarly petitioned the government to define the term “milk” vis-à-vis the Dairy Pride Act to include only the excretions derived from lactating cows—in an attempt to thwart the booming plant-based milk industry—with little success. “Just as the dairy industry responded to robust competition from plant-based milks by trying to claim a monopoly on the term ‘milk,’” Almy said, “so too is the USCA basically asserting that they own the term ‘meat.’ And again, that is simply not true. Soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are all milks that you can pour on your cereal or add to your coffee—as are milks made from peas, oats, and other plants. And there's nothing in meat that's exclusive to the animal kingdom. Meats made from plants have the same cultural and culinary significance as any other center-of-the-plate protein.” GFI will file a petition to counter that of USCA in the next month, and Almy believes that the USDA will “either ignore or rightly reject the Cattlemen's petition” in the meantime.

More News

A&W Adds Vegan Beyond Burger to 925 Locations

Beyond Meat's partnership with A&W Canada will put its vegan patty on the menu at 10,000 points of distribution.
Read More »

Sweden's Top Fast-Food Chain Debuts Vegan Milkshakes

Max Burgers' new vegan milkshakes will eventually replace all dairy-based milkshakes and are part of a longer-term goal to increase the plant-based options on its menu.
Read More »

French Foie Gras Restaurant To Go Vegan

London-based fine-dining restaurant Gauthier Soho will go vegan after owner Alexis Gauthier learned of the horrors inherent in animal agriculture, particularly in foie gras production.
Read More »

Pride Toronto Adds Plant-Based Zone for Queer Vegans

Fest-goers will be treated to vegan rainbow mac and cheese, soups, salads, snacks, and beauty products, while chilling out amongst glowing palm trees in a new area dedicated to everything cruelty-free.
Read More »

52 New York Dairy Farms Lose Wholesale Contracts

Dairy suppliers cannot sell their milk as demand for dairy continues to plummet.
Read More »

This Week on VegNews TV: The secret to these delightful sweet treats is white beans! Aylin Erman shows you how to make these simple blondies.

More Videos »