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In the United States, the labeling of vegetarian alternatives to meat, seafood, dairy and eggs is not regulated. Therefore vegetarian products can use the terminology of conventional products. However, the existing international debate around the labeling of these alternative products is still relevant.
House Committee on Appropriations alerts the FDA
On June 30, 2021, the House Committee on Appropriations, the committee responsible for funding the vital activities of the US federal government, approved the funding project named “the Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Funding Bill “. In its report published to accompany this decision, the committee alerted the FDA to the need to clarify the labeling rules for vegetarian alternatives. Indeed, the currently authorized labeling is misleading and can be confusing for consumers. Today, an ultra-processed fish alternative can be labeled the same as a fish. The committee in question wants the FDA to study the products available on the market to assess the possibility of misleading consumers.
For its part, the FDA is acting to advance reflection on this subject. On June 29, 2021, the FDA shared a list of guide lines that complement the regulations in force in the United States. Among those, a guide for the labeling of vegetable milks is in draft form. However, the FDA has not given any information about its willingness to work on guides specific to cheese, yogurt, meat, seafood and egg alternatives.
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