A judge just declared that the Louisiana Truth in Labeling of Food Products Act is unconstitutional. Finally, once again, vegan beef can be called vegan beef, and cauliflower rice can be called cauliflower rice.
The Truth in Labeling of Food Products Act went into effect in October 2020 to prohibit companies from using words that were meat-related to their products that were not, even when the label included the words “vegan” or “plant-based.”
The law was driven by the agriculture industry, which, unsurprisingly, had no trouble passing the law back in 2019. The state Senator at the time, Francis Thompson, commented three years ago, “Broccoli is not rice. Cell cultures are not meat. And certainly, tofu burgers are not meat.”
Supporters of the law argued that these labels misled customers into buying things they wouldn’t have. They said using names like veggie burgers, veggie sausages, and cauliflower rice were misleading.
Since then, many have argued that the law violates free speech, and finally, someone has agreed. In the ruling handed on Monday, Judge Brian Jackson of the U.S. Middle District of Louisiana, it was deemed unconstitutional.
The law was extremely controversial from the start. Meat companies feared that people would confuse vegan food for real meat which would affect their sales. Plant-based meat is getting more and more realistic and meat companies are feeling the effects. Meat is not sustainable and these plant-based companies are taking on the agriculture industry and winning the battle.
The plant-based labeling debate has been going on for years now. There have been plant-based food labeling lawsuits in Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Arkansas, as well as in Australia and the EU. Meat companies fear that people would confuse vegan food for real meat which would affect their sales. Plant-based meat is getting more and more realistic and meat companies are feeling the effects. Meat is not sustainable and these plant-based companies are taking on the agriculture industry and winning the battle.
There is significant research that shows that customers are able to differentiate between plant-based products and real meat products. Research from the University of Louisville found that consumers “are no more likely to think that plant-based products come from an animal if the product’s name incorporates words traditionally associated with animal products than if it does not.”
Source: Mic the Vegan/Youtube
Since 2020, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has been in charge of fining companies up to $500 per day when they were in violation. This ended 17 months ago when the law was finally challenged in court.
Tofurky, a company that sells meat substitutes, assured that customers were not confused by the company’s products and the labels represent what they are, like a vegetable burger.
Let’s talk about how misleading the meat and dairy industry is. Do you know what “free-range,” “grass-fed,” and “cage-free” mean? If you’re picturing vast green pastures and animals frolicking happily in large areas, you’re wrong. These labels are incredibly misleading and do not represent how these animals are raised.
“Free-range” chickens, for example, usually are confined in warehouses where they might technically have a door that leads to a small designated outdoor area. However, due to the massive number of birds crammed, they likely never see daylight in their short lifetimes.
Laura Braden, the lead regulatory counsel for the Good Food Institute, which represented Tofurky in court alongside the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said, “Louisiana consumers deserve better than being patronized by lawmakers who want to control what they buy.”
“Consumers are not confusing veggie burgers for beef burgers when labels clearly indicate the products are plant-based, meatless, vegetarian, or vegan, and it insults their intelligence to suggest otherwise.”
This is a huge win for plant-based companies all over and hopefully sets the tone going forwards, that vegan alternatives are here to stay!
- Miyokos Wins Plant-Based Food Labelling Lawsuit
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- Shocking Food Labels Expose What Our Meat Addiction Means for Wildlife
- The Surprising Facts on What Other Countries Get Right About Food Labels
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