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posted by martyb on Monday July 08 2019, @02:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the one-soy-based-hemispherical-cross-section-please dept.

A new law in Mississippi(1) makes it illegal to refer to plant and cell-culture based patties as 'burgers'.

The law would also prohibit the use of "burger" or "dog" in relation to vat-grown, cell-based food, which is made of meat. The statute reserves these appelations for foodstuffs derived from "slaughtered livestock."

The law has naturally been challenged by parties such as the Good Food Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union among others. In a nutshell

The contention on the meat industry side is:

Mike McCormick, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation: "This bill will protect our cattle farmers from having to compete with products not harvested from an animal."

The contention on the other side is:

"There's nothing misleading about the name of a veggie burger, or vegan hot dog, or seitan bacon," Almy, a lawyer on the Missouri case, told me. "The packages clearly disclose that this is plant-based food that has the taste or texture of this familiar food."

A typical American would likely fall somewhere between these two views.

I fully understand (and at times enjoy) 'veggie burgers', however I had to look up 'seitan bacon' (FYI - a traditional Japanese wheat based food that is meat-like) and would not have known what it was at a glance (does super-seitan bacon go to 9000 calories?)

So where do patrons of Soylent Words-Related-to-Current-Happenings fall on this one?

(1) - Note TFA bounces between Missouri and Mississippi actions. There are similar labeling laws in both states. SB 627 in Missouri and SB 2922 in Mississippi.

Related: U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat"
Regulation Coming to Lab-Grown Meat


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday July 08 2019, @02:45AM (12 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday July 08 2019, @02:45AM (#864298)

    They've been selling Veggie Burgers in California since the early 1990s, at least.

    Funny that it hasn't even been an issue in the Deep South until just now.

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  • (Score: 2) by boltronics on Monday July 08 2019, @03:04AM (5 children)

    by boltronics (580) on Monday July 08 2019, @03:04AM (#864303) Homepage

    Yep, I've always known then as veggie burgers here is Australia. I don't see why that's confusing.

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    • (Score: 2, Redundant) by sgleysti on Monday July 08 2019, @03:25AM (1 child)

      by sgleysti (56) on Monday July 08 2019, @03:25AM (#864309)

      I don't see why that's confusing.

      It isn't confusing.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @04:11AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @04:11AM (#864326)

        Mississippi politicians are easily confused and easily bought.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Monday July 08 2019, @11:31AM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday July 08 2019, @11:31AM (#864416)

      When I went to California (from the Deep South) for the first time in 1992, it was confusing for about 20 seconds, then I asked a California Native just to be sure before making a terrible mistake, and he confirmed the strangeness: no, it's not a burger with veggies on it...

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      • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Tuesday July 09 2019, @03:28AM (1 child)

        by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday July 09 2019, @03:28AM (#864843) Homepage

        And a vegan burger is not a burger made from the meat of vegans, alas.

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        • (Score: 2) by boltronics on Tuesday July 09 2019, @05:19AM

          by boltronics (580) on Tuesday July 09 2019, @05:19AM (#864865) Homepage

          I purchased a burger that said it was vegan friendly. I don't care if it's friendly towards vegans - I'm concerned about it being friendly towards animals!

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday July 08 2019, @05:54AM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday July 08 2019, @05:54AM (#864358) Journal

    Cultured/lab-grown meat is a new thing, though.

    U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat" [soylentnews.org]
    Regulation Coming to Lab-Grown Meat [soylentnews.org]

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by hwertz on Monday July 08 2019, @06:49AM (2 children)

    by hwertz (8141) on Monday July 08 2019, @06:49AM (#864377)

    I could see why they might worry about confusion... if places did indeed list their veggie burgers as veggie burgers, there's no confusion. But, I've been to several restaurants recently that now among their several burgers list the Impossible Burger as an option, with nothing obvious indicating that this is a veggie burger.

    • (Score: 2) by https on Monday July 08 2019, @03:10PM (1 child)

      by https (5248) on Monday July 08 2019, @03:10PM (#864517) Journal

      If you don't know what the "Impossible Burger" is, you have clearly beaten the marketing campaign to interfere with your reasoning process. You're more dangerous to capitalists than Jesus (and worse, not a target market). Serving you an incorrect menu item is the least of their worries.

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @10:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @10:29PM (#864728)

        You're more dangerous to capitalists than Jesus (and worse, not a target market).

        Are you sure about that? He'll pay twice as much for something without knowing any reason to, expect that it's priced twice as high. Sounds like a good target market to me.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @08:52AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @08:52AM (#864400)

    It's because lab based 'meats' and others are becoming increasingly misleading with their labeling. For instance would you think an "Impossible Burger" or "Beyond Burger" do you think these clearly indicate that the product is the product of corporate labs working to produce a product that resembles the texture and flavor of a burger while being made of entirely different components? And this is made even more relevant by the fact that these are the sort of products many people would prefer not to eat and so if they do eat them it's going to be because they were misled as to what they were consuming. That's a deeply personal violation of a consumer since it's not just a knock off product or trinket, but stuff you are putting inside of your body and consuming.

    Another good example even given in the article synopses. Seitan is apparently a non-meat product in Japan. I've never heard of it and I expect the vast majority of Americans have not either. Seeing "seitan bacon" on something that seems to be bacon is going to mislead people. The most crucial part is that I think this deception is intentional on part of the corporations manufacturing these products.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday July 09 2019, @01:57AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 09 2019, @01:57AM (#864807) Journal

      It's because lab based 'meats' and others are becoming increasingly misleading with their labeling.

      Not at all.

      For instance would you think an "Impossible Burger" or "Beyond Burger" do you think these clearly indicate that the product is the product of corporate labs working to produce a product that resembles the texture and flavor of a burger while being made of entirely different components?

      Yes, since I know what those are. In addition, the presence of the adjective is a clear warning sign that one should ask, if one doesn't so know.

      And this is made even more relevant by the fact that these are the sort of products many people would prefer not to eat and so if they do eat them it's going to be because they were misled as to what they were consuming.

      Which let us note, is not very relevant. They get enough such veggie burgers and they'll learn to ask before they buy. The disease is the cure.

      The most crucial part is that I think this deception is intentional on part of the corporations manufacturing these products.

      Well, then show it. Really, this is the only relevant part of your entire post.

      The thing is I don't buy at all that these businesses get by on deceiving the public. This isn't a business that can get by on burning a few gullible people once (particularly since the examples you give are likely to result in refunds!). And they're trying legitimately to get a product that looks, tastes, and is used much like the meat versions of burgers and bacon. Why can't they use similar names for similar products?

      Finally, this is a massive violation of free speech. Contrary to your claim, it's quite clear what product they're selling. Instead, I see this as an abusive attempt to squelch rival competitors.