Texas Lawmakers Push a Likely Unconstitutional Ban on Plant-Based Food Producers Labeling Their Products 'Meat,' 'Beef,' 'Pork'

Producers of plant-based meats argue these restrictions violate the First Amendment.


Calling it Beyond Meat may soon be beyond the law in the Lone Star State. A bill advancing through the Texas legislature would pile new regulations on how the makers of plant-based and lab-grown foods could label their products.

On Monday, the Texas House of Representatives passed H.B. 316. The bill amends the state's food labeling laws to prevent newly defined "analogue" foods—a category that includes products from companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat—from using terms like "beef," "meat," and "pork" on their packaging.

Plant-based food producers could still use terms like "burger," according to The Dallas Morning News. But any such analogue burger or sausage would need to have "plant-based," "meatless," "made from plants," or "a similar qualifying term or disclaimer" prominently displayed on the label.  H.B. 316 would apply similar restrictions to lab-grown meat, which would have to come with a "lab-grown" or "cell-cultured" label.

The market for fake meat products has grown says Scott Weathers, senior policy specialist for the Good Food Institute (GFI). Research from GFI shows that the market for plant-based meats grew 27 percent in the past year. That growth, he says, has produced a backlash from the producers of conventional meats. "Legislators who've introduced these bills have said their intent is to protect the traditional agricultural industry."

Indeed, H.B. 316 has the vocal support of ranchers and pork and poultry producer associations. They say their intention is to clear up any confusion consumers might have over whether Benevolent Bacon comes from pigs or not.

"It's simple: Soy is not meat. Beans are not meat. Cells grown in a petri dish on artificial nutrient solutions are not meat," wrote Judith McGeary, executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance in a public comment in support of H.B. 316. "Labels that imply in any way that these products are equivalent to meat from livestock are false and misleading."

"As technology advances and food products for consumption are created using alternative ingredients and methods, Texans need the ability to make the distinction between meat originating from a carcass, meat substitutes, and cell-cultured products," reads a committee report on the bill. Its primary author is  Rep. Brad Buckley (R–Killeen).

Opponents of the bill argue that the proposed regulations would do more to confuse than to clarify what consumers are buying. "Calling the burger 'plant-based meat,' combined with the ground beef appearance of the burger, lets home cooks know what to do with the burger when they unwrap it: cook it like they would ground beef," said Chuck Mains of Impossible Foods in a public comment on the bill.

Texas's bill is part of a trend. State legislatures across the country have introduced or passed bills regulating how plant-based foods can be labeled. Most have been the subject of lawsuits from plant-based food producers who argue that labeling restrictions violate their First Amendment rights to free speech.

"The First amendment turns on what a reasonable consumer will understand. If a reasonable consumer understands what you're saying, then the government isn't allowed to make you change what you're saying," says Justin Pearson, an attorney with the Institute for Justice. "Just like reasonable consumers understand that chickens don't have fingers, and you shouldn't wear cotton candy, a reasonable consumer understands these plant-based meat terms."

As such, courts have generally been receptive to lawsuits challenging these labeling laws, he says.

In 2019, the makers of Tofurkey managed to get a preliminary injunction preventing Arkansas from enforcing its law prohibiting the vegan food maker from using terms like "chorizo," "ham roast," and "sausage" in its labeling, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. That same year, an Institute for Justice lawsuit prompted Mississippi to change its restrictions on plant-based meat labeling.

A federal judge blocked California from enforcing labeling restrictions on a vegan butter maker last year.

The same logic undergirding these court decisions would likely make Texas' law unconstitutional as well, says Pearson.

A case in Missouri brought by Tofurkey against that state's plant-based meat labeling law is ongoing. The Institute for Justice is currently suing Oklahoma over additional labeling requirements it slapped on vegan food sellers.

Having passed the House of Representatives, H.B. 316 now heads to the Texas state senate.

NEXT: Small Cracks in the Restrictive Wall of Occupational Licensing Across the Nation

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  1. Caveat emptor

    1. Calling something made from plants “meat” is fraud.

      1. Morally – maybe. Legally – no. Unless you can demonstrate that customers actually are confused by the labeling (which is a much higher standard than “might be”), you have not met the necessary elements to allege fraud.

        1. Well, it’s not hard to confuse people with labeling if you just label it as something that it’s not. For instance if you sold something as “ground beef” and it contained 42% pork… some people would probably be confused by that labeling.

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          3. Even as a New Mexican I don’t believe Texans are stupid enough to not know that the plant based fake meat isn’t made out of animals. I mean, for one thing, it wouldn’t trigger their lust.

        2. Can they label hamburger meat as lettuce?

          1. I have the tastiest meat based vegetarian restaurant in town.

        3. If ketchup isn’t a vegetable, a tomato sure isn’t meat.

        4. Legally – no. Unless you can demonstrate that customers actually are confused by the labeling (which is a much higher standard than “might be”), you have not met the necessary elements to allege fraud.

          First, demonstrable harm *and* deceptive intent.
          Second, let’s not pretend our standards for fraud are ideal.

        5. You don’t need to prove the label is confusing, merely that it misrepresents what is in the container. Many people are not fooled by fake brand name products, that doesn’t make them legal.

          Indeed, much of this bill is already law – both state and federal. All it is doing is clarifying what can count as misleading for a specific set of products. It is interesting that nobody is complaining that it is also illegal to market chicken as beef, or turkey as pork.

          Why might that be? Might it be because there is no attempt by pork product sellers to make people think they are buying ground beef when it is ground pork? It also clarifies that a cow’s bone marrow isn’t “beef” either. Outrageous, right?

          Or could it be that the writers of this and related piece misrepresenting the bill do so as basically click bait? The authors tell you that the name “Beyond Meat” would be illegal. This is false. The bill makes no such assertion. In fact, the bill actually makes the product in the picture for the article clear that it is NOT a case of misrepresenting the product! How so?

          Look at the picture. Do you see the *prominent* display of it not purporting to be actual meat? Yes. It is hard to miss. Not to mention the name itself implies, if not explicitly asserts, it is not meat at all. Now take away all of the references to it not being actual meat, and change the name to “Beneficial Beef.” Same thing? Not at all.

          No, the marketing for Beyond Meat, and its packaging, are actually what the bill is wanting to be done. It is a prime example of how the bill explicitly states how to NOT be misleading. So why might the company behind it make a public affair over it? Marketing. They know, if they read the bill, that their labelling and marketing is specifically what the bill *wants* to happen. But if they can drum up some business by grandstanding about it instead, they do so.

          Conversely, and this is something nobody seems to be writing about, the definition of an “analogue” category also means it would be illegal for a beef producer to market their beef containing product as an analogue one. Under that existing statute, there is no prohibition on it. Under the new one, there would be.

          To explain that a bit better, under current law a beef producer could make fake beans that are actually “meat based” and misrepresent them as beans. Maybe they call them “Boosted Beans” and market them as better because they taste better than plain beans. Under this bill they would have to prominently identify them as an *imitation* of beans, and the name probably would qualify as misleading because “boosted” doesn’t qualify “beans” as not being beans the way “Beyond” qualifies it as not meat.

          It is already the law that you can’t market a product as beef it is isn’t beef. This is merely clarifying what it means to be “beef”, “pork”, or “poultry” while adding two new groups and their definitions to that “protected” category.

          Here is the existing law on it:

          Now here is the part of that law changed under this bill:
          “(a) livestock, poultry product, analogue product, or cell-cultured product is misbranded if:”

          Everything else there is the same.

      2. Soylent Green is most apt. It’s made of soy, It’s Eco friendly and culturally people associate it with meat.

        1. Oops, just saw it was Soy free. How about Soyless Green?

          1. Lent requires the believer to go without so technically Soy-lent could be going without Soy, and in a ‘green’ way. Plant based.

            But ultimately – “SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!! YOU GOTTA STOP ‘EM!”

            1. I wish more people followed my advice: “DON’T TAKE THE GOVERNMENT GREEN! GOVERNMENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!!!”

      3. Why’s that? Meat is just a fraudulent euphemism for chopped up corpse.

      4. I disagree. If you’re clear about the labelling, it shouldn’t be an issue.

        My issue is when I go to a Burger King and they try to give me an ‘Impossible’ Whopper when I didn’t ask for one.

      5. Not if you also say it was made from plants.

      6. Calling something made of plants is no more dishonest that calling a patty of ground beef a hamburger. It is not from hamburg, nor contains people or animals from hamburg. Hot dogs are not dogs, nor are they from frankfurt. We refer to vegetable skins and flesh, and I dont see why calling the fleshy part of the fruit the meat of the fruit would be fraud.
        These products should be clearly labeled that they are vegetarian. Anything beyond that is just weird protectionism.

        1. There are all kinds of rules about this already in existence. Velveeta is not cheese. It is a cheese food product. There are rules for what is a beer, what is wine, what is fortified wine, there are rules all over the place for what label you’re allowed to slap on something.

          This is simply an extension of that fight. One side wants to be able to call their meat substitute beef with a brand name attached to it, the other side wants them to have to label it imitation, synthetic, plant-based, cow meat substitute.

          1. Heh and the funny thing about Velveeta not being “a” cheese, is that the primary ingredient is cheese. It isn’t a cheese substitute, but cheese that has been “processed” (basically its been “pre-emulsified”).

            But I just make my own these days anyway. It is pretty easy to do and I know exactly what is in it (cheese of my choice, milk, butter, and a tiny amount of a specific salt).

        2. This is basic sophistry and easy to invalidate, so let us dispense with it.

          “I don’t see why calling the fleshy part of the fruit the meat of the fruit would be fraud.”

          On its own, it is not. In fact I do it often. However, I don’t package it to look like something it isn’t and advertise it as if it were. Fraud is not using a single word differently, not usually at least. It is the overall package that has to be considered. For example, you can have a business called “McDonald’s” but you can’t name a restart that and then try to make it look like a McDonald’s when it is not one. For a more thorough example, and some better comedy than I can put here, see Coming To America. There, the example is “McDowell’s” but everything else is basically McDonald’s.

          If you went online and bought a case of “15 pounds ground meat” and the pictures on the label had it *looking like*, say ground chicken, but what you got was a case of 15 pounds of shredded apple, were you defrauded? By your argument you were not because you got shredded apple meat. However, you clearly were because the packaging and marketing misled you to thinking it was chicken. That scenario is explicitly covered by this legislation.

          Now on “clearly labelled as vegetarian” – that doesn’t clear things up because many vegetarians will eat fish – which is meat. Some will allow for eggs or chicken. Yes some have additional names, but that doesn’t change the fact that for many vegetarians, it doesn’t mean they are not eating things other than plants. And by “many” I am referring to studies that indicate around 60% of “vegetarians” eat animal flesh products almost daily. Nearly half of vegetarians (or pescatarians) do not consider fish as “meat.”

          And to head it off, even “vegan” doesn’t work because there are vegans (or “branches” of veganism) that allow for seafood. They do the very same mental gymnastics vegetarians who make “non-exception exceptions” do.

          That said, the name “Beyond Meat” would actually not fall under he prohibition here because it isn’t claiming to be meat but being “beyond” it. This author of this article is misrepresenting the bill by claiming that you can’t use the word “beef” at all as one example. The bill makes no such mandate. It says you can not *represent* it as beef if it is not actual beef. Same for poultry and pork.

          Nor is this whole-cloth legislation, but amending existing statute – specifically the same statutes that mandate disclosing contents such as artificial food coloring or flavoring.

          I would encourage you to dig into the bill itself and get to the meat of it rather than accepting the representation of the author here. I’m not saying it is a great bill, merely that it isn’t what is being advertised here. There is some irony in an author misrepresenting legislation that is about misrepresenting a product to serve their own ends.

          Your use of “hamburger” as applying only to people or animals from Hamburg, Germany is as erroneous as it is shallow. The phraseology was used to apply to many things originating in a given city – not just people or animals. Nor was this limited to Hamburg.

          Further, the term of hamburger as applying to ground beef actually does come from trade with the city of Hamburg and it exporting ground beef, just as Frankfurters was a shortening of Frankfurt sausage (which in German had already been shortened from Frankfort-wurst to Frankfurter). And finally lets talk about “hot dogs”.

          The term came about because of suspicions that they actually did contain dog meat. This was then amplified by various humorists and cartoonists to the point that the name stuck. So we have the term because people thought the product actually contained dog in them. Which would tend to support this bill in that the name came from what people thought was in it, thus naming something a hamburger that contains no meat would indicate people would expect it had ground beef in it.

          The slightly more generic shortening of “burger”, however, has a difference. We have “turkey burgers” and “veggie burgers” for example. The existence of these would likely be useful in determining if a given product is being marketed to mislead.

      7. Using the word meat to say it’s not meat or tastes like meat is not fraud.

      8. Actually, in Mideaval times, all food, regardless of the food grouping, was referred to as “meat” and desserts were called “sweet meats.” It wasn’t fraudulent then because everyone knew how to differentiate food groups, so why should it be fraud now?

        1. In India, sweets are still called sweet meats, and everyone knows what they are referring to. Jackfruit based products are the worst offenders; they make a vegan product they call “pulled pork”. It’s a doble lie, neither pork nor pulled. If this is how lawmakers spend their time, they should get paid minimum wage.

          1. Oh, I go even further. Don’t defund the police, defund the legislators.

            If they are going to make stupid laws “for the greater good,” let them do it out of their perverse love for it, not for pay. Also, it’s a conflict of interest for people distributing our taxdollars to get paid in taxdollars.

    2. Where does Texas stand on Texas Beef raised on Texas feed, grown from CO2 extracted from Texas air?

      1. So were you trying to be ironic in linking a site that has “vvhatsupwiththat” instead of “whatsupwiththat” and it clearly trying to be a substitute for the other site but rely on people visually seeing “vv” as if it was a “w” without paying attention? or did you fall for it as well without realizing it? 😉 Because as satirical as it is, the connection to it in a thread about labelling and how people see it is fairly humorous IMO.

  2. Tie definition of meat is “the flesh of an animal”. There’s no such thing as plant based meat. They need to invent a new word and use that.

    1. Soylent green is apt.

      1. Where’d you come from?

    2. Actually, when you really think about it, all animal flesh is just processed, concentrated plant matter and all plant matter is just long-term reconstituted animal flesh. And it is all made of Elements from the Natural Universe and like Moby said: “We Are All Made of Stars” and like Harry Nilsson wrote for the movie Popeye: “Everything Is Food.”

      I hope that clears things up. 🙂

  3. So, can I just sell Carrots, package it up, and label it as meat, and Reason is ok with that?

    1. If you called it “Carrot Meat”, sure.

      1. What if he called it wonder meat?

        How about Grade A Meat?

        1. “Grade A” might run into issues as that is a meat classification. But to the larger question: Did he package it to look like the purchaser isn’t getting carrots, but is getting something that is meat? For example, if the picture on the box is of a slice of turkey, a hamburger, or a chicken leg or “nugget”, then yeah that’d be misleading.

    2. Or perhaps pork rolled up in to a ball and sold as Mazza.

      1. In Illinois it’s called Pritzker.

  4. This kind of labeling law is usually stupid and in the vein of banning “meatless meat” type advertising, but if something contains less beef than Taco Bell’s beef, then calling it beef is just plain false advertising.

  5. the package in the photo complies.

    1. Yeah. Funny that when meat producers want a redundant law arguably infringing on free speech to protect them Reason goes the ‘fuck your pet cause’ route but when section 230 infringes on free speech to protect Twitter they go the ‘Muh Soshul Mediaz!’ route.

      1. indeed.

  6. >>Cells grown in a petri dish on artificial nutrient solutions are not meat

    test-tube humans are not humans?

    1. Just clumps of cells.

    2. Culture appropriation?

    3. No fetus is legally a human.

    4. Test tube grown human cells are not humans.

      But the question is whether it’s meat, not whether it’s a cow.

  7. You soys really can’t just own up to being what you are

  8. Producers of plant-based meats

    You mean plant-based meat products, right?

    1. Damn you’re good!

      Are you a lawyer (I actually mean that in the best way, as someone who is verbally quite analytical).

  9. Truth-in-advertising laws and accurate food labeling laws are a well established exception to the 1A. If it does not contain dead cow it is not beef and similar for pork or chicken. I think the ruling allowing for “Just Mayo” which has zero mayonnaise in it is also wrong.

    1. That is an accurate description of precedent. But the Texas law (and others like it) go well beyond your description. They also attempt to outlaw label statements such as “tastes like beef” or “beef-flavored”, both of which can be true without any dead cow in it.

      1. Have you read it? Because your claim is not in there.

        If you make a non-beef product, don’t call it beef, but claim it “taste’s like beef”, then no that would not run afoul of the law as written in the bill. Please acknowledge that or cite specifically the portion that you assert makes that illegal.

        But if you called it “Wonder Beef”, and it had no beef and were not explicit in the same font/size/prominence that it is not beef and does not contain beef, then yeah you’d be falsely advertising a product.

        If it contains no flavoring of beef and you claim it has, that would be false advertising – but that is actually already illegal and not something this bill created. Flavorings specifically are already covered by FDA regulations. If it contains zero beef, it would be an “artificial flavor”. If it is an artificial flavor, then you have to label it as an artificial beef flavor.

        This bill adds nothing new to the law about artificial flavors. Right now if you claim to have it flavored like beef using not-beef you have to label the artificial flavor used to get there. Specifically this section applies:

        “(11) it bears or contains artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, or a chemical preservative unless it bears labeling stating that fact, except as otherwise prescribed by department rule for situations in which compliance with this subdivision is impracticable;”

        So if you say it is “beef-flavored” *but have nothing indicating that the flavor is artificial*, then you would run afoul of it. And note that this is already the law. This bill doesn’t change that.

        However, “tastes like” is a subjective description and even under FDA regulations would be allowed. This bill does nothing to change that. In some ways this bill is somewhat redundant in that aspects of it are already covered by federal code.

        Go read the bill yourself. If you do, know that text that is underlined is new, struck-through is to be removed, and everything else is already the law. When you do that you’ll understand why your claim is incorrect.

    2. Well I guess if you consider ‘fraud’ an exception to the first amendment, I won’t nitpick too much.

      I think the ruling allowing for “Just Mayo” which has zero mayonnaise in it is also wrong.

      I agree. If you simply flat out label your product as something it’s not, don’t be surprised if you get some legal pushback.

    3. it’s not mayonnaise it’s just mayo.

      1. Clinically.

    4. I can’t believe its not butter

  10. Beyond Meat shares are off by nearly half from their October highs. Year to date, the stock has fallen 14.2%, and it has dropped 21.7% in the past 12 months. This is a result of falling sales. People are losing their taste for the product

    1. Sure… it was all marketing hype. After people tasted it they wanted real meat of course. Gates and Schwab are going to shove it down our throats. If you exceed your meat quota for the month your chip implant will force vomit you on your next bite of meat. It is for your own good though. They care about your health.

      1. Also, it sounds like the environmental claims aren’t panning out either. I’m not a fan of the monoculture argument, but if Beyond Meat or it’s proponents are the ones asserting the unbridled environmental benefits, my feelings one way or the other are irrelevant. It’s pretty clear that Beyond Meat is selectively analyzing their supply chains to arrive at their notable environmentally-friendly claims.

  11. Genuine imitation leather.

    1. So hilarious

    2. I’ve always loved that one. 😀

  12. I’m all for keeping genuinely confusing product names off the market but I have never heard of anyone being confused by “Beyond Meat”. The name is literally telling you that it’s not meat. Banning it for using the word “meat” to describe that it is not that is ridiculous and would actually make it more confusing as to whether it was really meat.

    1. It MAY confuse people too stupid to get a free government id, so it must be banned.

      1. Just feed the animal-grade food products to the slave labo… I mean illegal immagr… I mean Mexica… I mean refugees.

    2. There are government standards for labeling alcohol content, nutritional data, and ingredients. The first amendment ship sailed long ago.

    3. It’s ambiguous. I mean, there’s a Pilates place called Beyond Pilates. “Beyond” can mean “not just” rather than “not”.

      1. This, if I saw something labeled “beyond eggs” I wouldn’t assume the product had no eggs in it. If assume based upon common usage in the food labeling market that the advertiser was touring some sort of enhancement to their eggs. Either by adding vitamins or some sort of extravagant free range thing.

        1. Beyond eggs is a chicken!

          1. As George Carlin observed about egg yolk: “It’s not the end of an egg!…It’s the beginning of a chicken! It’s hen cum! AAAAH!”

    4. That name would not be banned under the proposed law. The author is misrepresenting it. The term “Beyond” would be considered a “qualifier” just as you can call non-bacon if you call it, eg. “turkey bacon.”

  13. I still don’t know what Naugahyde is. And I wouldn’t buy it. Why would I buy fake meat.

    1. You really need to try some fresh-grilled nauga flesh. Delicious!

    2. I would, the so called leather they sell nowadays is about as thick as a balloon.

    3. We had a Naugahyde couch when I was young. I always asked: “How many Naugies did they have to kill to make it?”

  14. Sorry to disagree with my friends at Reason (and Cato), but this is an attempt at deception, plain and simple. Producers are clearly hoping that they can get enough confusion going to nibble at the edges.

    I get caveat emptor, but there’s also fraud, and this is flirting with that line.

  15. These are the times that try men’s souls – – – – – – —

    How is this different from calling basement bunker Biden a moderate?
    How is this different from calling segregation by race anti-racism?
    How is this different from calling a semi-automatic center fire rifle an assault rifle?
    How is this different from calling arson and looting mostly peaceful?
    How is this different from calling 2016 a stolen election, and calling 2020 free and fair?

    Following 1984 as an instruction manual instead of a warning, newspeak is here in full force to make certain political thoughts impossible.

  16. The term BURGER is OK??? I dunno, isn’t that kinda—-well——BOURGEOIS????

  17. So, dog food made from “meat and meat byproducts” doesn’t have to have any meat?

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  19. “‘As technology advances and food products for consumption are created using alternative ingredients and methods, Texans need the ability to make the distinction between meat originating from a carcass, meat substitutes, and cell-cultured products,’ reads a committee report on the bill. Its primary author is Rep. Brad Buckley (R–Killeen).”

    So you’re saying Texans are stupid.


    I guess Texans are stupid if they can’t figure that out.

    1. I think Texans are pretty smart. Texas politicians on the other hand are still politicians and thus dumber than sack of armadillo droppings.

    2. Does the law cite the specific label in question or is it suggesting the label that intelligent designers future-proofed be emulated?

      It would seem that the law prevents you from labelling your product ‘Kinda Meet’ without clarifying whether ‘Kinda’ was ‘kind of’ or ‘kinder’ and, more importantly, what makes it such. Steer clear of the German Kinder Meat.

      1. It may seem like it but that is only because of the author’s misrepresentation of it. Calling it “kinda meat” wouldn’t run afoul on its own, no.

        And yeah, stay away from German Kinder Meat. And don’t try to “import” Kinder Eggs on your trip back unless you’re willing to risk it. 😉 Though for me I can’t seem to buy enough to have any left over for the return trip to the U.S.

  20. You’d think those jackasses had more important problems to tackle like an electricity grid that fails occasionally and leads to citizen deaths.

    But no- let’s focus on something so minute and dumb to distract the idiots.

    1. You know, you’re right. This also goes for everyone carping about the so-called monopoly of Big Tech while energy and water utilities have been government-supported monopolies for decades and even centuries.

  21. So, I can butcher and grind up a range-fed steer and call it a plant-based product then?

    1. Plants ARE the primary ingredient.

    2. Burger kind did have chicken fries for a while, which I think is more like veggie burger. The law makes a lot more sense than the current examples available to gripe about.

      1. Sometimes, they are called “chicken fingers” or “chicken nuggets.” Chicken claws minus the solid exterior are sometimes called “chicken paws.” Does anyone above age 5 seriously think that chickens have fingers…or nuggets, or paws…based on the name?

  22. Fake “meat” has been around for decades if not a century. And they ALL say they are meatless, faux, made from plants, or similar. NONE of them purport to be actual meat.

    The new “meatless” meat is not different. The tofu kielbasa from 2000 was clearly packaged to emphasize it was not meat but made from tofu. The Impossible Burger clearly says to anyone who can read that it’s not meat.

    I don’t like this stuff. Better than the old stuff, but it’s still as close to real cow beef as soy milk is to real cow milk. And every single package makes it clear that it’s vegetarian.

    This is just Texas politicians being fragile and signalling their fragile base.

    1. Yeah, seems pretty silly. The major selling point of these products is that they are not meat. I don’t see any intent to deceive.
      My inner pedant still doesn’t like the phrase “plant based meat”, though. It’s just not meat. That’s the whole point.

    2. I seem to recall back in the Nineties or the early 2000’s (“The Double-Oughts?” or “The Uh-Ohs?”) that some group of Texas Cattlemen was trying to either sue or even prosecute Oprah Winfrey for “product disparagement.”

      I don’t know if she said bad things about her product or if her mere presence gave cows a bad name, but, yeah, pretty much a Snowflake vs. Snowflake quarrel.

  23. This is something of a silly argument. We already have hundreds of regulations about what you are allowed to call things.

    You can’t call your sparkling wine champagne unless it comes from champagne, but you are going to argue that you can call a soy patty beef?

    Yeah, I don’t think so. This one isn’t going to be close.

    1. In the US you can call it “Champagne”

      Don’t try it in the EU, though.

      1. And if you are Fred G. Sanford*, you can combine Champagne with Ripple and call it…Champipple!

        *(The “G” in “Fred G. Sanford” stands for: “Glug!-Glug!-Glug!”)

    2. The redundancy argument is actually the strongest one against it – these things are already illegal under federal laws on advertising, labeling, and marketing.

      The counter-argument to that one though is somewhat federalist: relying on federal regulations means relying on federal prosecution and vigilance. Having a law that basically allows the state to prosecute for what the fedgov could if they so chose allows the state, if it chooses, to take action where the federal is either too busy or politically motivated to not do so.

      That situation isn’t unique – there are many cases in the CFR and precedent established where one entity can or does defer to the other. Usually that is explicitly established in the federal law that a local law to the same effect has priority and sometimes limiting the federal authority to only act if there are federal exceptions or the local authorities do not take action.

  24. I have long been annoyed that Kraft Foods sells American cheese and American “cheese product” in nearly-identical packaging. When having a sandwich made, I first make sure that they are using real mayonnaise, rather than reduced fat or other not-quites that people don’t usually think about. Lowfat milk is not the same as MILK.

    That said, the “Beyond Meat” label is proudly proclaiming that it is plant-based. I’m not likely to accidentally buy it, thinking that it’s ground beef.

    The word “meat” is not used exclusively for animal-flesh products (“nut meats,” for instance).

    Given the above two points, I think that this is an unnecessary campaign.

  25. “Calling the burger ‘plant-based meat,'”

    Can I call a burger made of beef a “meat-based plant”?

  26. Although this reeks of corruption from the Texas meat industry, by using the evil power of the state, if it’s plant-based protein, call it just that! If it doesn’t come from an animal, don’t manipulate people otherwise. Also, the lawsuit actually benefits its defendants by calling attention to their products.

    1. Yeah, the Oprah lawsuit backfired. Why not call all of it chains of amino acids/ lipids patties.

  27. Thank goodness Texas is striking the first blow against advertising a chemical cocktail with zero meat in it as meat… #Frankenmeat #Frankenburgers #Frankensausage

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