House Appropriations Committee ‘encourages FDA to provide clarity around the labeling of plant-based foods’

In a report ​accompanying a bill making appropriations for the USDA, FDA, Rural Development, and related agencies for fiscal year 2022, the committee said it would provide $5m to support research “focused on the characteristics of animal meat using plants, animal cell cultivation, or fermentation.”

It also noted that it was “aware of the ongoing debate around plant-based product labels and the use of traditional meat, dairy and egg terminology” ​and was “concerned by the assertions being made that labeling of these products are misleading, deceptive, and confusing to consumers.”

It added: “The Committee directs FDA to provide clarity around the labeling of plant-based foods that use traditional meat, dairy, and egg terminology.”

In an amendment​, the language was changed from ‘directs’ to ‘encourages’: “The Committee encourages​ FDA to provide clarity around the labeling of plant-based foods that use traditional meat, dairy, and egg terminology, especially as it relates to such product labels with clear and conspicuous descriptors such plant-based, veggie, vegetarian, or vegan.”

Plant-based seafood labeling: FDA should ‘determine whether action is necessary to ensure consumers are not misled’

The report also noted that, “Certain foods are labeled as a fish or seafood product when the products are highly-processed plant-based foods rather than derived from actual fish or seafood. The Committee directs the FDA to continue to assess products on the market to determine whether action is necessary to ensure consumers are not misled regarding such product labeling​.”

The FDA – which said earlier this week​ that it plans to issue draft guidance on the labeling of plant-based milks in the next 12 months – would not say whether it also plans to issue guidance on the labeling of cheese, yogurt, meat, seafood, or egg alternatives, and told FoodNavigator-USA that it “cannotprovide additional information on specific guidance topics.”



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