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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


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  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday July 08 2019, @04:19AM (3 children)

    by mhajicek (51) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 08 2019, @04:19AM (#864335)

    What do you call coconut milk?

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    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
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  • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday July 08 2019, @05:03AM (2 children)

    by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Monday July 08 2019, @05:03AM (#864349) Journal

    Coconut "milk" is like most of the other products -- it is an engineered juice/extract from a vegetal source. I assume you're not talking about coconut "water" or coconut "juice" (i.e., the actual liquid found in coconuts, which is NOT called "coconut milk").

    Anyhow, as I said, I can see both sides of the milk issue. And coconut milk is the ONE authorized exception I believe in the EU, due to the long history of the term. Also, chemically and nutritionally there's an argument for some greater semblance.

    The question, to my mind, if you allow any white liquid to be called "milk," what are the parameters? Does it need to have a certain nutritional or chemical profile? Does it need to have a certain viscosity? Should it react to temperature changes in certain specified ways? Or is it enough just to vaguely process some vegetal matter and extract some white liquidy substance?

    Language is arbitrary. But words become useful when they mean something. Where we draw the line determines to some extent whether the words are useful. Nobody is calling tomato juice "tomato milk,* so is it just color that defines "milk"? Well, what about parsnip juice? That's white, but maybe wrong texture/viscosity. And responds differently to temperature than most other engineered vegetal "milks."

    Point is: I might be okay with calling various engineered vegetal juices/puree mixtures "milks" is we had a better official definition of what parameters you need to satisfy to call your product "milk." Because lots of people want to use their "milk" as an ingredient in all sorts of things (unlike burgers and dogs, which are generally consumed in very specific ways). It seems to me we need to legally define "milk" somehow...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @02:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08 2019, @02:51PM (#864506)

      Total BS. Coconut "water" is EXACTLY what coconut milk is. No "engineering" required.

    • (Score: 2) by dry on Tuesday July 09 2019, @03:12AM

      by dry (223) on Tuesday July 09 2019, @03:12AM (#864839) Journal

      I've always known the liquid that comes out of a ripe coconut as coconut milk, though looking, it seems the definition has changed, perhaps it's an American thing.
      Likewise, milk has always been used for various products, dairy milk, nut milk etc. To quote wiki, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_milk [wikipedia.org]

      In English, the word "milk" has been used to refer to "milk-like plant juices" since 1200 AD.[5]

      Anyways, if we're going to give into the marketers, who want to poison us with animal milk, hot dogs should only refer to dog meat, or accept that language changes, sometimes for stupid reasons.