The Eighth Circuit has affirmed a 2019 denial of Tofurky’s request for a preliminary injunction in a case challenging Missouri’s law that criminalizes representing a product as “meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.”
Eighth Circuit Affirms Denial of Preliminary Injunction for Missouri Meat Labeling Law
New York Legislation Would Restrict Labeling of Non-Meat Food Items
New York Senate Bill 5396 would declare a food not containing meat misbranded if “the food product is labeled or branded in a false, deceptive or misleading manner that misrepresents the product as meat or meat food product . . . or as poultry.”
Texas Legislation Would Require Disclosure of “Human Benefit” of “Imitation” Meat
Texas Senate Bill 883 would declare a food misbranded if it is “advertised or labeled as containing or imitating meat” if “any part of its labeling is false or misleading; the food is misrepresented as harvested meat through the use of any misleading or deceptive advertising or labeling; any portion of the food’s advertising or labeling suggests or implies that the food imitates meat, beef, chicken, or pork when the food does not; the food includes a label stating ‘meat,’ ‘beef,’ ‘chicken,’ ‘pork,’ or any common variation of those terms, if the food does not contain the products listed on the label;” or “the food’s label includes a claim comparing the food’s nutritional value to that of meat without disclosing the human benefit of the food.” “Human benefit” is not defined. The bill defines “meat” as “any edible portion of a livestock carcass that does not contain lab-grown, cell cultured, insect, or plant-based food products.”
Texas Considers Restrictions on Labeling Animal-Free Products
Texas House Bill 2277 would declare a food misbranded if it is labeled with “a term that has a [federal] standard of identity, if the product does not meet the [federal] standard of identity”; “a claim that the food product is nutritionally similar or superior to a food product with a [federal] standard of identity unless the food product’s label contains a factual comparison of the food products’ nutritional values”; or “an image, depiction, or graphic of a livestock animal, if the food product does not contain a product derived from a livestock animal,” unless the food is labeled with “the word ‘imitation’ immediately followed by the name of the product imitated” and, as applicable, the words “this product does not contain animal protein,” “meatless,” “meat free,” or “egg free.”
Texas Bill Would Require “Imitation” on Label of Animal-Free Products
Texas House Bill 2217 would declare a food misbranded “if it is an imitation of another food, including any food that approximates the texture, flavor, appearance, or other aesthetic qualities of or the chemical characteristics of any specific type of poultry or poultry product, meat or meat food product, egg or egg product, or fish” unless the food is labeled with “the word ‘imitation’ immediately followed by the name of the food imitated” and, as applicable, the words “this product does not contain animal protein,” or the words “meatless,” “meat free,” or “egg free.”
California Legislation Would Incentivize Transition to Plant-Based Agriculture
California Assembly Bill 1289 would require the state Department of Food and Agriculture to establish a grant program to assist “persons farming on small to midsize farms to transition the use of the land from raising livestock or growing feed crops to plant-based agriculture,” develop “best practices for transitioning land,” and provide “technical assistance” with regard to the program.
Labeling Restrictions and Free Speech
An article by Eryn Terry, “The Regulation of Commercial Speech: Can Alternative Meat Companies Have Their Beef and Speak It Too,” published in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology law, explores the fight over labeling of plant-based and cultivated products.
California Legislation Would Incentivize Plant-Based School Meals
California Assembly Bill 558 would fund the inclusion of plant-based alternatives in schools by authorizing reimbursement to local educational agencies who offer plant-based alternatives (up to $0.20 per meal for meals that include a plant-based food option or up to $0.10 per meal for meals that include a plant-based milk option), authorizing one-time payments of up to $1,000 to local educational agencies that receive such meal reimbursement, and providing for grants of up to $100,000 to local educational agencies for additional purposes relating to the program (including contracting with third parties for professional development training and purchasing cafeteria equipment).
Kentucky Considers Requiring Plant-Based Food Options at Hospitals
Kentucky House Bill 457 would require hospitals offering inpatient or residential care to offer patients a plant-based alternative to every snack or meal at no additional cost to the patient.
Wisconsin Considers Limitation on Use of Term “Milk”
Wisconsin Senate Bill 83 would prohibit the labeling of any product “any type of milk” unless it is milk from a cow or “hooved or camelid mammal” or a product defined as milk under federal law.