June 29, 2020

Oklahoma Meat Consumer Protection Act Passed

Oklahoma Meat Consumer Protection Act Passed

The Oklahoma Meat Consumer Protection Act was passed by the Senate and is now heading to the Governor’s desk. The act clearly defines that the terms “beef” and “pork” can only be used to describe products deriving from cattle or pigs, brings uniformity with federal law by mirroring the definitions for labeling of non-meat products, and gives the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry the authority to enforce meat labeling practices.

House Bill 3806 was introduced by Senator Michael Bergstrom (R-Adair) and Representative Toni Hasenbeck (R-Elgin). “Clever marketing practices and deceptive labeling on plant-based meat alternatives can be confusing for shoppers looking to purchase meat-based items at the grocery store,” Bergstrom said in a press release. “This measure ensures the clarity and accuracy of labeling meat and plant-based food items, giving consumers peace of mind that they are purchasing exactly what they intended.”

The bill was supported by the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) and was a priority for the group during the 2020 legislation session. OCA worked closely with the Oklahoma Pork Council (OPC) and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) on the legislation. “First we want to thank Representative Hasenbeck and Senator Bergstrom for the leadership on this important issue. We also appreciate Governor Stitt signing the bill into law,” said Michael Kelsey, OCA Executive Vice President in a press release. “This law will require that companies wanting to sell plant-based products in Oklahoma must use wording type such as vegetarian, imitation, or plant-based on the package that is uniform in size and prominence to the name of the product.”

Roy Lee Lindsey, Executive Director of OPC noted, “The Oklahoma Pork Council appreciates the work of the legislature to approve HB 3806 relating to labeling products as “meat.” Common sense tells us that for plants to become “pork” those plants must be fed to a pig. Thank you to Rep. Toni Hasenbeck and Sen. Michael Bergstrom for their leadership on this issue. Also, thank you to the House and Senate for your support of this important legislation.”