The Good Food Institute (GFI), the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, and Tofurky, a vegetarian food producer, are suing the state to stop a law that it argued would prohibit plant-based and clean meat companies from labelling their products accurately.
The law meant these products could not be labelled as sausages, hot dogs or deli slices.
Earlier this year, the Missouri governor signed a bill that prohibited the misrepresentation of meat. This included any product that does not come from a slaughtered animal. This law was scheduled to take effect today (28 August).
The law stated there should be no “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry”.
In the opposing document filed with the court, Tofurky and the other claimants said the law infringed on the First Amendment, preventing the clear and accurate labelling of plant-based and clean meat products and denying fair and honest competition in the marketplace.
It stated: “The Statute is a content-based, overbroad and vague criminal law that prevents the sharing of truthful information and impedes competition by plant-based and clean meat companies in the marketplace. The Statute does nothing to protect the public from potentially misleading information.”
Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s executive director said that Missouri was “putting its thumb on the scale” to unfairly benefit the meat industry and silence alternative producers.
“This law violates various constitutional principles, including free speech – which should be a concern for everyone, regardless of diet,” he said.
GFI’s executive director Bruce Friedrich said: “Americans don’t like censorship, and they don’t like the government picking winners and losers in the marketplace. We’re confident that the Court will overturn this anti-competitive and unconstitutional law.”