MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - According to the United States Cattlemen's Association, beef labels can be misleading to some consumers. Now, the USCA is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service to define the term "beef."
The USCA said that some products being sold with the label "beef" or "meat" are actually made from alternative proteins and products grown in laboratories, not from the animal itself and has released a petition that reads in part:
We contacted the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, which confirmed the petition was true.
"There are some groups out there that are asking the USDA and some of the other food regulatory agencies to let people know," Erin Beasely, Executive Vice President of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, said. "People need to know that they're eating meat. People need to know that they're eating beef, and we're certainly concerned about that because we want our consumers to know that they're getting healthy, nutritious, and just good beef for them versus cricket meat. In our industry we want folks to know that they're eating meat products."
Beasley said that while she doesn't know what will come of the petition, she does know that "it's definitely a priority issue for us as an industry to watch what the alternative protein market does," because "alternative proteins are not meat at the end of the day and when consumers go in we want our consumers to know when they buy beef they buy beef."
That's not to say that all beef and meat labels are incorrect.
"At the end of the day, we've got a large number of cattle producers, just not only in Alabama but across the countryside, that are committed to growing delicious and nutritious beef and they're going to continue to do that," Beasely said.
Jerry Etheredge, owner of the Montgomery Stockyard, said the USDA needs to strengthen its guidelines.
"We want all our consumers to know that if they're buying 100 percent beef that that's exactly what they're getting, that they're not getting laboratory beef," Etheredge said.
You can read the USCA's full petition here.