Missouri becomes first state to ban meat-substitute makers from using word ‘meat’

Missouri becomes first state to ban meat-substitute makers from using word ‘meat’
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Missouri on Tuesday will become the first state to ban meat-substitute products from using the word "meat" in advertising and marketing, USA Today reported.

The new law prohibits "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Plant-based products such as seitan and tempeh are sometimes presented by producers as meat alternatives.

Violators could be fined $1,000 and imprisoned for one year.

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"The big issue was marketing with integrity and ... consumers knowing what they’re getting," Mike Deering, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association spokesman, told USA Today. "There's so much unknown about this."

A coalition of groups representing alternative meats filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming the statute, which was signed into law June 1, violates the First Amendment and discriminates against manufacturers outside of Missouri, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.

“Americans don’t like censorship, and they don’t like the government picking winners and losers in the marketplace," said Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute, a group that promotes plant-based substitutes. "We’re confident that the court will overturn this anti-competitive and unconstitutional law." 

Tofurky is one of the companies that filed an injunction, claiming few consumers have reported being confused by the term "plant-based meats." Tofurky products are made primarily with tofu.

The Food and Drug Administration in June announced that it would regulate lab-grown meat, and the agency hosted a public meeting in July requesting input on how it can best regulate alternative meats.