South Dakota passes bill in support of accurate meat labeling

By Katrina Lim | Posted: Tue 7:20 PM, Mar 05, 2019  | Updated: Tue 11:26 PM, Mar 05, 2019 

CAPUTA, S.D. (KOTA TV) – Ranchers say the livestock industry gained some security for their livelihood Monday.

The state House unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit labeling cell-cultured protein as meat in South Dakota.

The bill is now just one step away from becoming law.

The livestock industry is a key player in South Dakota’s economy, and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association wants to protect it with Senate Bill 68.

The group brought the bill to the legislature this year.

They want to make sure any proteins sold in the state are properly labeled, especially cell-cultured proteins.

James Halverson, executive director, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, says, “It’s really received overwhelming support in the committees and on the floor of the House and the Senate and that makes us really proud and really excited.”

Cell-based proteins, or what some call “fake meat,” are cells taken from an animal and cultured or grown in a lab.

They’re not commercially available yet, but the Stockgrowers Association is trying to be proactive by making sure consumers are informed when so-called “fake meat” hits grocery stores.

James Halverson says, “These protein sources were not developed, were not grown by animals, were not on the hoof. It’s just a bunch of cells that were in a lab and were grown that way. That’s fine. We’re not necessarily against that. If people want to buy that, that’s their right, and that’s okay. But we just think that it should be defined and it should be labeled properly so consumers have that knowledge and that choice.”

Representative Scyller Borglum of Pennington County was one of 63 “yes” votes in the House on Monday.

Rep. Scyller Borglum, District 32, says, “This is something that both sides of the aisle agree on. We both see it as important. We’d love to see it move forward for the benefit of all South Dakota, both consumers and producers.”

The Stockgrowers hope Governor Noem will sign the bill when it comes across her desk.

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