Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner is pushing for truth-in-labeling on lab-grown meat

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson is a champion for Genuine Mississippi products. So he’s found himself in a position to fight back on behalf of Mississippians when it comes to lab-grown meat.

“My initiative, as I’ve taken a leadership role on this, is to make sure that people know that they’re buying real meat as opposed to some fake lab-grown garbage,” said Andy Gipson.

In case you haven’t heard, lab-grown meat is grown from animal cells. Several companies are working on prototypes now, but Gipson says that’s not the real deal.

“You are what you eat," noted Gipson. "That’s why I won’t eat this stuff. If I were writing the laws, I would put a sticker on it and say this product was manufactured from a laboratory and not from a live farm raised animal.”

That same sentiment is echoed by the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association that’s working to protect a big part of Mississippi’s agricultural interests.

“We’re concerned about how those products are labeled," explained Andy Berry, Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director. "We’re not opposed to the technology. It’s a free country, you can produce and buy what you want. But they’re imitating our products and we want them to imitate our labels and our nomenclature.”

But it turns out it’s not just the lab-grown stuff that’s caught their attention and concern.

“The Impossible Burger, which is fake meat, will be in all 50 states grocery stores," Gipson said. "They call it a bleeding burger.”

It’s a plant based burger designed to mimic an actual burger’s flavor and texture. A map shows it’s already available in six Mississippi restaurants.

“People have a choice, and we don’t want them to be mislead or maybe even tricked into buying something that is ‘meat’ that has no meat in it," said Berry.

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