Louisiana is among a slew of states, including Missouri and South Dakota, that have passed legislation against “fake meat” being labeled as meat at a time when more producers are entering the alternative meat market.
Farmers and ranchers have been promoting “real meat” laws in several states this year, Governing reports, saying only animal-based products can be called meat. They argue the makers of plant-based products, such as tofu dogs, and newer cell-based products that involve more complicated chemistry, like the Impossible Burger, are unfairly trading on the images and marketing of meat made from animals.
Meanwhile, promoters of vegetarian products say farmers and ranchers are concerned with trying to protect their brands and sales, not clearing up any consumer confusion.
This past session, the Louisiana Legislature passed a “truth in labeling” measure that would ban food sellers from labeling their products veggie “meat” or “cauliflower rice.” Gov. John Bel Edwards earlier this week signed it into law, with an effective date of Oct. 1, 2020.
The food label discussion around the country is, ironically, happening at the same time as Tyson Foods gets into making meat substitutes. The company on Thursday announced its first line of plant-based and blended meat products, according to CBS News, after years of eyeing the meatless meat market.
As the largest meat producer in the U.S., Tyson Foods will prove a powerful competitor. Its plant-based nuggets will hit store shelves this summer, with blended burgers made with beef and plants coming this fall.