Iowa legislator: I’d ban all plant-based meat products from Iowa if I could

L: Rep. Mike Sexton (official headshot R: Plant-based meat alternatives. Photo by Nikoel Hytrek/Starting Line

By Ty Rushing

March 6, 2024

Rep. Mike Sexton (R-Rockwell City) would ban all plant-based meat products—such as Beyond Beef or the Impossible Burger—from Iowa if he could.

“If it was up to me, I believe I would outlaw fake meat in the state of Iowa, and I would make it illegal to transport it across the state of Iowa,” said Sexton, who operates a sheep farm in Calhoun County.

Sexton made his remarks while sharing his support for SF 2391 during a Wednesday Iowa House subcommittee on the legislation that passed 49-0 in the Iowa Senate last week. The hearing coincided with Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s “Cattlemen at the Capitol” legislative day, and some cattle producers clad in cowboy hats and novelty belt buckles sat in on the meeting.

SF 2391 bans food processing plants from mislabeling lab-grown meat or plant-based meat alternatives from using terms generally associated with meat from cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and other domesticated livestock animals. Violators of the policy could face a civil penalty.

The bill also bans the Iowa Board of Regents, Iowa community colleges, and Iowa public schools from being able to purchase meat alternatives. 

Additionally, SF 2391 would require the state of Iowa to request a waiver from the federal government should the federal government allow people who participate in certain food assistance programs to purchase meat alternatives.

“I love this bill,” Sexton said. “I don’t think this bill goes far enough. I’m sick of the anti-livestock people telling us how to raise livestock in Iowa.”

  • Ty Rushing

    Ty Rushing is the Chief Political Correspondent for Iowa Starting Line. He is a trail-blazing veteran Iowa journalist, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and co-founder and president of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists. Send tips or story ideas to [email protected] and find him on social media @Rushthewriter.

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