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States Shouldn’t Use Protectionist Schemes to Limit Consumer ‘Meat’ Choices

Veggie burgers don’t come from cows. There’s no such thing as tofu turkey farms—as far as I know.

Consumers know this, but that is not stopping some state legislators from trying to use state consumer protection laws to limit how “meat” alternatives are advertised to the public.

Missouri is the first and only state, to date, to pass such a law.

The state’s 2018 law prohibits “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Under the law, “‘misrepresent’ means the use of any untrue, misleading or deceptive oral or written statement, advertisement, label, display, picture, illustration or sample.”

For companies selling products that are not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry, this law appears to restrict their speech well beyond prohibiting the use of the word “meat.”

As a result, this could mean that using animal meat-related terms such as “sausage” for a plant-based product, even if part of a compound name like “veggie sausage,” could violate Missouri law. Companies selling plant-based alternatives to “meat,” as subjectively defined by Missouri, will need to be very careful in how they advertise their products because the law is both unclear and potentially very broad in scope.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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