The 56th Arizona Legislature adjourned Sine Die, which is about a bill that failed to pass.

House Bill 2244 would have added meat labeling to Arizona’s Pure Food Control Act. It would have prohibited a person from misleading food.

 Arizona Rep. Quang Nguyen, R-Prescott Valley, introduced HB 2244 to impose stricter labeling regulations.

His bill sought to stop “misrepresenting” food items not derived from traditional livestock or poultry as meat or animal products. 

This legislation would have applied to lab-grown meat created from the cells of animals as well as plant-based meats or synthetic alternatives derived from insects or other sources.

“I’m not banning anything,” Nguyen said. “I’m just saying, ‘Hey, I want to be able to walk in the grocery store as a consumer and see this is lab-grown, this is bugs, this is plant-based.’ That’s all.”

Nguyen said the issue is a matter of transparency. Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established labeling standards, Nguyen sees them as insufficient in informing consumers about the source of lab-grown meat.

As amended, the food code would read: “Products not derived from livestock or poultry; misrepresenting or misbranding as meat or poultry; prohibition; violation; civil penalty; definitions:

“A person who places a label on a food product may not intentionally misbrand or misrepresent a product that is not derived from livestock or poultry as meat, a meat food product, poultry or a poultry product through any activity, including misbranding or misrepresenting by doing any of the following:

1. Affixing a false or misleading label on meat, a meat food product, poultry or a poultry product.

2. Using a term that is the same as or deceptively similar to a term that has been used or defined historically about a specific meat food product or poultry product.

3. Representing a product as meat, a meat food product, poultry or a poultry product if the product is a cell-cultured food product.

4. Representing a product as meat, a meat food product, poultry or a poultry product if the product is a synthetic product derived from a plant, insect or other source.”

.HB 2244 did pass the House, 35 to 20.  At that point, the bill was sent over. to the Senate. But just a day later, the vote failed because of a 15 to 15 vote.

It did not appear to win votes on reconsideration to become law, although it was alive very late in the session.

It means the Arizona battle may not be over. It has already brought Drake Jamali, a Good Food Institute lobbyist, to the state.

Jamali cautioned lawmakers against the potential consequences of HB 2244, suggesting that it broadly restricted the use of terms such as “patties” or “nuggets,” even when packaging indicates the product’s nature.

But 2244 was not the most harsh measure this year. HJB 2121, introduced by Rep. David Marshall, R-Snowflake, sought to ban the sale or production of lab-grown meat altogether, but the bill did not survive the Senate.

Editor’s note: The copy was corrected to show Lobbyist Jamali’s comments more accurately.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here)