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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: 3, Informative) by istartedi on Monday July 08 2019, @06:13AM (5 children)

    by istartedi (123) on Monday July 08 2019, @06:13AM (#864361) Journal

    Way, way back I remember asking a teacher or professor why we didn't have English as the official language in the USA. The reply, in part, involved the undesirable notion that if we had such a thing then the government would be involved in endorsing or even enforcing grammar and such. I was told this was the case in France, and that the government indeed would come down on people for advertising "Le hamburger" if a French word was available.

    There was always a tension between the libertarian strain of conservatism that wants minimal government, and the other type of conservative that wants the USA to be an Anglo nation.

    Now, thanks to powerful lobbyists, we're seeing the libertarian faction trampled under the boot, and yet it does nothing to further the cause of compulsory English use in other contexts.

    To the conservatives of Mississippi I say, "Why are you hitting yourselves?".

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday July 08 2019, @06:45AM

    by c0lo (156) on Monday July 08 2019, @06:45AM (#864375) Journal

    To the conservatives of Mississippi I say, "Why are you hitting yourselves?".

    Principles and politicking and whatnot are, as usual, just smoke and mirrors. As such, your almost-wall-of-text-rant is, at best, an essay on the esthetics of smoke.

    If you want the reality, especially when it comes about all-things-US, the path to the truth is much simpler: just the follow the money/profit.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday July 08 2019, @12:23PM (3 children)

    by acid andy (1683) on Monday July 08 2019, @12:23PM (#864432) Homepage Journal

    As c0lo has hinted, it's libertarian for big business, authoritarian against the littler guy. Whoever makes the most money gets the most liberty. Then they lobby to get their liberties written into new laws. The irony. That's the trouble, too little regulation in a society and only the bullies will end up being the ones that are not regulated. They become the regulators.

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday July 09 2019, @02:52AM (2 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 09 2019, @02:52AM (#864827) Journal

      That's the trouble, too little regulation in a society and only the bullies will end up being the ones that are not regulated.

      This proposed law against veggie meat replicas didn't come out because there was too little regulation, but rather because there was too much.

      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Tuesday July 09 2019, @12:49PM (1 child)

        by acid andy (1683) on Tuesday July 09 2019, @12:49PM (#864960) Homepage Journal

        This proposed law against veggie meat replicas didn't come out because there was too little regulation, but rather because there was too much.

        You're missing the nuances in my comment.

        The meat industry clearly have bigger lobbying clout than the vegetarian / vegan food industry at present, so they lobby for more regulation, thus bullying the littler guy (veg industry). Big meat retain liberty and lack of regulation; little veg get regulated by authority. That's how it works.

        --
        Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday July 09 2019, @03:21PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 09 2019, @03:21PM (#865003) Journal

          You're missing the nuances in my comment.

          The meat industry clearly have bigger lobbying clout than the vegetarian / vegan food industry at present, so they lobby for more regulation, thus bullying the littler guy (veg industry). Big meat retain liberty and lack of regulation; little veg get regulated by authority. That's how it works.

          Um, no. I'm not missing the nuance. First, you admit above that there is already excess regulation - the regulation that the big lobbyists allegedly are adding onto the small guy. Second, you propose no mechanism by which to prevent the big lobbyists from doing that aside from more regulation, which you've already admitted generically favors the big lobbyist in the first place. My take is that if we come up with even more byzantine laws on regulation campaign contributions, bribery, and anything else that can influence politicians to vote against the best interests of their constituents, we'll just tilt the lobbying grounds even further in favor of the big lobbyists - who will be better versed in legal and/or criminal ways of overcoming those legal obstacles. And of course, the people who have the least interest in enforcing lobbying/bribery laws will be the ones in charge of enforcement.

          The problem here is that the voter and consumer doesn't care enough in the general case - they can otherwise provide independent enforcement of such things without the need for regulation. As long as that remains the case, it's not going to be relevant how much legal veneer you put on top of lobbying. But if some business spends a billion dollars on lobbying and consistently gets as a result, a massive 10 billion dollar loss in profits (whether it be from lawsuits, contrary legislative results, losing elections, boycotts, whatever), then they're not going to do that for long either because they give up or go bankrupt.

          Perhaps you see now why I don't buy that this approach is going to work?