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posted by martyb on Thursday August 30 2018, @05:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the how-can-you-get-any-pudding-if-you-don't...-what? dept.

Missouri has prohibited producers of meat alternatives, such as lab-grown/cultured meat and plant-based fake meats, from using the term "meat" to describe products not derived from harvested livestock or poultry:

On Tuesday, Missouri becomes the first state in the country to have a law on the books that prohibits food makers to use the word "meat" to refer to anything other than animal flesh. This takes aim at manufacturers of what has been dubbed fake or non-traditional meat. Clean meat -- also known as lab-grown meat -- is made of cultured animal tissue cells, while plant-based meat is generally from ingredients such as soy, tempeh and seitan.

The state law forbids "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Violators may be fined $1,000 and imprisoned for a year.

[...] The Missouri Cattlemen's Association, which worked to get the state law passed, has cited shopper confusion and protecting local ranchers as reasons for the legislation. "The big issue was marketing with integrity and...consumers knowing what they're getting," said Missouri Cattlemen's Association spokesman Mike Deering. "There's so much unknown about this."

Turtle Island Foods, which makes "Tofurky", has sued the state:

On Monday, the company that makes Tofurky filed an injunction in a Missouri federal court to prevent enforcement of the statute, alleging that the state has received no complaints about consumers befuddled by the term "plant-based meats" and that preventing manufacturers from using the word is a violation of their First Amendment rights. Plus, it pointed out, "meat" also refers to the edible part of nuts and fruit.

The statute "prevents the sharing of truthful information and impedes competition," according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. "The marketing and packaging of plant-based products reveals that plant-based food producers do not mislead consumers but instead distinguish their products from conventional meat products." The co-plaintiff is the Good Food Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.

Deering said he was surprised by the suit, because the primary target of the law was lab-grown meat.

Also at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Oregon Live.

Previously: U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat"
Regulation Coming to Lab-Grown Meat
FDA Approves Impossible Burger "Heme" Ingredient; Still Wants to Regulate "Cultured Meat"

Related: FDA May Force Rebranding of Soy, Almond, et al. "Milks"

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30 2018, @07:28AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30 2018, @07:28AM (#728196)

    Cells grown in a lab are cells grown in a lab. The process of getting to something often plays a defining role in what it is. For instance champagne versus sparkling wine.

    The distinction here is especially important since our bodies have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, and countless millions if we include ancestor species, to consume certain products. If e.g. a vegetarian would like to consume lab grown cells then I think they should absolutely be free to. And indeed if I see the generation after them seems to be sufficiently healthful then I might be happy to try it myself. But in the mean time I think there is a reasonably high chance of unforeseen consequences. And all I mean by this is that I think it is logical to imagine that consuming something that is similar, but different, could result in an effect that is different than consuming the original product. What will these side effects be? Who knows; they could even be positive! But as I quite enjoy the flavor and healthfulness of meat, I'm in no rush to replace it - and so people should be able to opt in to acting as guinea pigs, rather than being forced to do so as might occur if products that are not meat could labeled as such.

  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday August 30 2018, @02:47PM (3 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Thursday August 30 2018, @02:47PM (#728276)

    You endure that "similar, but different" risk every time you eat beef, pork, or other domesticated meat (or any domesticated vegetables for that matter). We've fundamentally changed the nature of these organisms, so that their nutrient and hormone profiles barely resemble what we actually evolved to eat (and that's before you even get into all the hormones and antibiotics saturating most industrial-farmed animals).

    All you need to do is eat a selection of wild game to get a good sense of the flavor and texture differences associated with the changes we've made.

    Now, I'm all for requiring lab-grown meat to be labeled as such -but lets not pretend that the normal modern diet in any way resembles what we evolved to eat. We're already guinea pigs.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30 2018, @03:22PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30 2018, @03:22PM (#728288)

      All you need to do is eat a selection of wild game to get a good sense of the flavor and texture differences associated with the changes we've made.

      ...and then after you're done grimacing at the gamy taste, you can go back to lovely modern steak, bacon, etc. Nitrates and all. Mmmm, bacon. :)

      Or, IOW, not all such change is bad.

      ...their nutrient and hormone profiles barely resemble what we actually evolved to eat...

      We didn't evolve to get medical care for cancer, either, yet it lengthens our lives and improves their quality. Modern meat likewise: we actually live longer and stronger and healthier, even barring the statistical twist that infant mortality used to throw in there. There's no actual need to get all that concerned about this.

      And as far as cultured meat goes... can't wait. There will no longer be any need to kill or mistreat any feeling being in order to enjoy a fine steak, etc.

      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday August 31 2018, @03:26PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday August 31 2018, @03:26PM (#728781)

        Personally I love the flavor - tastes like something that used to be alive instead of the flavorless fat-paste typical of farmed animals.

        And nutritionally it's categorically NOT better - as a rule domesticated meat is far fattier and less nutritious than wild. Just as domesticated plants are far less nutritious and more carbohydrate rich.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31 2018, @07:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31 2018, @07:09PM (#728903)

      Completely agreed, and I think the state of American healthfulness is a product of our decision to increasingly move away from what we evolved to eat. This supports the point. If people want to eat this stuff -- more power to them, but it should be optional. And optionality necessitates proper labeling.