CANADA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has released comprehensive guidance outlining the definition and regulatory requirements for simulated meat and poultry products.

These products, as defined by Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations (FDR), are foods that do not contain meat, poultry, or fish products but emulate the appearance of such products, primarily using plant-based ingredients and possibly incorporating other animal products like milk and eggs.

The guidance clarifies that the appearance of simulated meat and poultry products encompasses sensory characteristics such as visual appearance, texture, flavor, and odor.

Additionally, it includes how the food is advertised and represented, emphasizing that foods labeled, advertised, or marketed as resembling or being comparable to meat or poultry products fall under the category of simulated products.

To comply with FDR provisions, simulated meat and poultry products must have a common name that includes the word “simulated”, be labeled with “contains no meat” or “contains no poultry” (as applicable) and meet specific requirements for composition and fortification.

Foods that do not fit the definition of simulated meat or poultry products, which are mostly plant-based but may contain other animal products, do not have the appearance of meat or poultry.

However, these foods must not be labeled or advertised in a way that implies resemblance to meat or poultry products.

The overall impression of the product, including labels, claims, images, and appearance, is assessed to determine whether there is a likelihood of it being mistaken for meat or poultry products.

The guidance includes a table outlining the regulatory requirements for simulated meat and simulated poultry products, as well as other foods that do not fall under the definition of simulated products.

The CFIA aims to provide clarity and guidelines for the growing market of simulated meat and poultry products, ensuring compliance with applicable regulations and standards.

In the United States, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently reintroduced the Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act (Real MEAT Act).

The proposed legislation seeks to bring clarity to the definition of beef and pork for labeling purposes, addressing the growing market of alternative proteins.

The act would mandate that alternative protein products clearly display the word “imitation” on their packaging to reduce consumer confusion and enhance the enforcement of labeling standards.

The primary objective of the Real MEAT Act is to alleviate consumer confusion surrounding meat products, especially as alternative protein options gain popularity.

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