FRANKFORT — Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles praised the Kentucky General Assembly for passing House Bill 311, an act that prevents lab-grown protein products from being labeled as meat.
“In the next few years, new lab-grown protein products, developed from cells in a petri dish, will hit grocery shelves in the United States,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Kentucky is the largest beef cattle state east of the Mississippi River, and as such, our consumers deserve to know that the word ‘meat’ means something, and that it means meat from an animal. I wish to thank the General Assembly and bill sponsor Representative Michael Meredith for passing this measure on a bipartisan basis and by an overwhelming margin.”
On November 16, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the two agencies would share jurisdiction over the production of lab-grown protein products. According to a news release from the agencies, FDA would regulate the lab stage until cell harvest, and USDA would regulate the production and labeling of food products.
“Kentucky needs to be on the front lines of this fight and be a leader on this issue,” Kentucky Cattlemen President Tim White said. “I appreciate the work of Commissioner Quarles and the state legislature for taking this issue on this legislative session.”
“We strongly believe that the solutions to feeding a growing global population in the future will come from science,” said Commissioner Quarles. “We also believe in competition, but competition should be honest. House Bill 311 is an opportunity for Kentucky to get ahead of a marketing issue that is just over the horizon.”
The Kentucky House of Representatives passed House Bill 311 on February 25 by a vote of 93-1. The Kentucky Senate passed the measure 36-0 on March 7. It now goes to Governor Matt Bevin for his signature.
— Kentucky Department of Agriculture
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