North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed legislation that defines meat and prohibits deceptive marketing practices used to promote cell-cultured alternative protein products to consumers.  North Dakota legislators passed this bill with just one dissenting vote in each chamber.

North Dakota joins a growing list of states pursuing such state-level legal initiatives including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.

The Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND) said it will be moving forward now to address the appropriate labeling of plant-based protein products that mimic beef, an issue that was not covered under the labeling legislation that is now North Dakota law. “Most evolving meat substitutes are designed to have a certain resemblance to conventionally produced meat and this is going to require absolute transparency with consumers about the materials and production practices used to manufacture them. It is very important that these products be labeled clearly at the point of sale so consumers understand precisely what they’re purchasing,” I-BAND said.

In November, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture announced the two agencies will hold joint oversight of lab cultured food products. FDA will oversee cell collection and growth as well as cell banks. The USDA will provide oversight of production and labeling of food products grown in laboratories from the cells of livestock and poultry. The North Dakota legislature also passed House Concurrent Resolution 3024, which urges Congress to take similar action on the federal level to differentiate traditionally produced meat from lab-grown products as well as plant or insect-based products designed to mimic meat.