What's in your dinner?

May 3, 2019


At the grocery store, many Mainers are seeing more and more alternatives to classic staples: plant-based ‘meat,’ ‘milk’ from nuts or beans, and ‘fish’ that never touched water. Some shoppers prefer these products, but others don’t know what they’re buying. Either way, labeling foods as something they’re not may have lasting effects on our state’s fishermen and farmers.

Recently, Congress has been debating how to label these new alternative foods.  

I’m concerned that ‘fishless fish’ and other products deceive consumers at the expense of good jobs in our state’s fishing industry. That’s why last month, I joined my Democratic and Republican colleagues to urge the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enforce the FDA’s own rules and regulations on ‘fishless fish’ and other misleadingly labeled foods. Even the companies that make these products have admitted they are attempting to deceive consumers.

Maine’s fishing industry is central to our economy and supports an estimated 39,000 jobs in our state. I’m confident consumers will choose Maine seafood over other alternatives, but only if consumers know what they’re choosing. Ensuring these alternative products are labeled correctly will help consumers make more informed decisions about what they are eating and protect Maine fishing  jobs.

But, as with all of my work in Congress, I’m listening to Mainers and want to know what folks in the Second District think. Maybe you feel differently. Either way, I’d like to know.