“Pork: You can’t make it from plants unless you feed them to a pig first.”
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) will be running digital ads in the Des Moines International Airport featuring this slogan starting Jan. 27 and running through Feb. 10. This line, in addition to “Pork: It comes from a pig, not Silicon Valley,” will help raise awareness of plant-based products violating labeling law.
“We’re doing this to raise awareness for our position on alternative protein labeling. We welcome competition as long as it’s on a level playing field,” says Jim Monroe, NPPC assistant vice president of communications. "The ads are designed to reflect our position during the heavy traffic period at the Des Moines airport before, during and after the caucus."
Citing law that prohibits the use of words that redefine pork as it has been known by consumers for centuries, Dan Kovich, NPPC director of science and technology, issued the following statement earlier this month:
“What’s impossible is to make pork from plants,” Kovich says. “This is a brazen attempt to circumvent decades of food labeling law and centuries of precedence. Any adjective placed in front of the word pork can only refine it, not redefine it. It’s not pork. It’s not pork sausage. It can’t be labeled as such.”
NPPC said it supports consumer choice and competitive markets on a level playing field. Because of this, plant-based and cell-cultured products designed to mimic real meat must face the same regulatory requirements as livestock agriculture, including truthful labeling standards, the statement said.
Labeling and marketing of these plant-based products often blurs the distinction between their products and pork, Kovich said.
“Packages often go so far as to have pictures of animals on them or use words such as ‘beefy’ in large type (much larger than any indication that the product is plant-based). Many of the products are trying to occupy the best of both worlds, with their manufacturers making broad claims about sustainability and taking issue with animal agriculture while trying to mimic meat on store shelves,” Kovich wrote in Meat of the Matter.
NPPC is addressing three key issues around plant-based and cultured meat products, including understanding the products and how they are produced, ensuring they are rigorously regulated and making sure they are labeled in a way that makes it clear to consumers how they were produced and what they contain.
“Plant-based alternative protein products cannot be called pork, and cultured products cannot be called pork without qualification making it clear how they were made. Consumers can choose pork sausage or bacon for breakfast, or they can choose an ‘in-vitro produced pork food product,’” Kovich noted.
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