Iowa to impose fines of up to $10,000 for deceiving residents with counterfeit meat, effective this summer

Starting July 1, food manufacturers in Iowa will be subject to fines if they inaccurately label a protein-based product as meat.

Senate File 2391, signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday, grants the Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing the authority to conduct inspections on food manufacturers in response to consumer complaints. In cases where the product is found to be mislabeled, the manufacturer will be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $10,000 for violations occurring within the same transaction or incident, as stated in the bill.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds emphasized the importance of consumer trust in livestock producers and the need for transparency in product labeling. She stated, “This legislation aims to prevent companies from taking advantage of consumer trust and deceiving them into purchasing products that do not align with their preferences. It is a matter of common sense that a product labeled as chicken, beef, or pork should genuinely originate from an animal.”

The new law has the potential to impact Arizona’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs. To address this, the Department of Health and Human Services will reach out to the United States Department of Agriculture to seek a waiver. This waiver would exclude egg substitutes and protein-based meat products from the state’s federal program.

The addition of egg substitutes in the bill was opposed by Democrats.

“During last month’s debate on the bill in the House of Representatives, Rep. J.D. Scholten, D-Sioux City, highlighted the findings of the experts at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He stated that up to 2% of children suffer from an egg allergy.”

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The Precision Fermentation Alliance criticized the law, labeling it as unnecessary and duplicative.

The organization stated that according to existing federal law, food products that do not meet a specific standard of identity should be labeled with appropriate qualifying terms to ensure that consumers are aware of their nature. However, the organization expressed concern over the use of the terms “fake” and “imitation” in SF 2391, as they believe these terms are inflammatory and derogatory towards a broad range of food products that consumers understand and desire. They argue that limiting consumer choice not only affects American consumers but also negatively impacts the industries that employ them, including the numerous food processing facilities in the Midwest and beyond.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently enacted a law that bans the sale of lab-grown meat within the state. In explaining his decision, he drew a parallel between supporters of lab-grown meat and the ideologies promoted by the World Economic Forum.

According to DeSantis, there is a push to eradicate meat and livestock altogether. He claims that some individuals aim to produce protein in laboratories, resulting in lab-created meat. The ultimate objective is to eliminate the need for raising cattle.

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