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Mangold fighting for proper meat labeling

A bill designed to keep “fake meat” from being labeled as “meat” has made it out of the House and now goes to the Senate.

House Bill 793, which Rep. Vince Mangold of Brookhaven co-authored, amends state law to provide that “any food product containing cell-cultured animal tissue or plant-based or insect-based food shall not be labeled meat or as a meat product.”

Mangold, a farmer, said the law would be similar to the one that requires restaurants to label the country of origin of catfish.

“I don’t know about you, but I like to know what I’m eating,” Mangold said.

The issue of “fake meat” labeling has attracted the interest of lawmakers around the country, with many worried about the effects of labeling lab-grown or plant-based proteins as meat. Missouri was the first state to regulate the word “meat.” The state prohibits companies from labeling protein not from harvested livestock or poultry as meat.

Several companies sell “meatless meat” and one company, Memphis Meats, is developing cell-based, cultured protein it calls “meat.” The company says its version of meat is healthier, safer and is environmentally friendly.

Tyson, a large poultry operation with plants in Mississippi, has invested in the cultured meat company through its venture capital division. Bill Gates is also an investor with the company.