Tag Archives plant-based

The European Parliament has reportedly voted against a ban on the use of meat terms for plant-based alternatives to meat, allowing words such as "burger," "steak" and "sausage" to be used on the packaging for plant-based foods, while passing a measure to ban the use of dairy terms on alternatives to dairy foods, such as "yogurt-style" or "cream imitation." A ban was already in place for the use of "milk" and "butter" for plant-based foods, and the passage of the measure expands the limitations.

Upton's Naturals Co. and the Plant Based Foods Association have filed a First Amendment challenge to Oklahoma's law requiring manufacturers of plant-based meat products to include a disclaimer on the labels of products that are named after animal-derived products, such as "burgers." Upton's Naturals Co. v. Stitt, No. 20-0938 (W.D. Okla., filed September 16, 2020). The law, scheduled to take effect November 1, 2020, prohibits advertising "a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock" but allows plant-based items to comply with the regulation if they display, "in type that is uniform and size and prominence to the name of the product," text informing consumers "that the product is derived from plant-based sources." Regulated words include "pork," "burgers," "hot dogs," "meatballs," "jerky," "sausages," "chorizo," "steak," "bacon" and "corned beef." "The Act is unreasonable, unnecessary, does not advance any legitimate government interest, and is not tailored to any legitimate…

Miyoko's Kitchen Inc. has filed a lawsuit asserting that California infringed its First Amendment right to free speech by requiring the removal of "truthful messages and images from its website and its product labels—including the phrase '100% cruelty and animal free,' the use of the word 'butter' in the phrase 'vegan plant butter,' and even an image of a 'woman hugging a cow.'" Miyoko's Kitchen v. Ross, No. 20-0893 (N.D. Cal., filed February 6, 2020). The company reportedly received a letter from California in December 2019 that "orders Miyoko's to remove claims that its vegan products are '100% cruelty and animal free,' 'cruelty free,' and 'lactose free'—all entirely truthful statements." "For decades, plant-based producers have used terms like 'vegan cheese,' 'soy milk,' and 'cashew yogurt,'" the complaint asserts. "Consumers are not confused by these labels. In fact, plant-based dairy terms are so widely used that the [U.S. Food and Drug…

An Arkansas federal court has granted Turtle Island Foods SPC, which does business as Tofurky Co., a preliminary injunction preventing the enforcement against it of an Arkansas law prohibiting the use of meat-related terms to describe plant-based products on food packaging. Turtle Island Foods SPC v. Soman, No. 19-0514 (E.D. Ark., C. Div., entered December 11, 2019). The court found that Tofurky "likely faces ruinous civil liability, enormous operational costs, or a cessation of in-state operations" if the statute is enforced against it. The court granted the preliminary injunction despite Arkansas' indication that it "does not intend to begin enforcement" until the constitutional challenge is resolved because "there is nothing in the record binding the State to that position" and "the State has made no assurances that it will not levy retroactive penalties for Tofurky's alleged violations of Act 501 between the law's passage and this litigation's conclusion."

Reps. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) have introduced the Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully (MEAT) Act, which would "codify the definition of beef for labeling purposes, reinforce existing misbranding provisions to eliminate consumer confusion, and enhance enforcement measures available to the [U.S. Department of Agriculture] if the [Food and Drug Administration] fails to take appropriate action," according to Marshall's press release. "The lack of any Federal definition of 'beef' or 'beef products' for the purposes of meat food product labeling has led some to begin marketing imitation products as meat or beef, creating the opportunity for marketplace confusion and consumer fraud that Congress originally charged the various Federal food regulatory agencies with the duty to prevent," the bill's text states. "Imitation products labeled as beef or as beef products create confusion in the marketplace. These products are in direct violation of the 'Congressional Findings and Declaration of Policy'…

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) has submitted a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Office of Food Additive Safety arguing that the sale of "uncooked Impossible Burgers to consumers in grocery stores" is unlawful because FDA "received timely objections to the agency's approval of Impossible Foods' color additive petition." CFS argues that its six objections to FDA's ruling should have automatically stayed the effective date of the rule. The letter describes grocery stores' advertising promising the availability of Impossible Burgers, asserting that "such sales are unlawful until there is a valid color additive regulation in place." The advocacy group concludes by urging FDA to "issue a recall notice to these and other retailers that are currently selling uncooked Impossible Burgers in their grocery stores."

The EU Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the U.K. House of Lords has submitted a letter to the country's agriculture minister in response to a EU committee's approval of a measure that would prohibit the use of meat-associated words and phrases—including "sausage," "burger" and "steak"—to describe plant-derived products. "Veggie tubes proposal a misteak," the subcommittee's press release headline states. "Our witnesses were unanimous in the view that current naming conventions around vegetarian burgers and sausages are clear and easy to understand," the letter states. "[W]e are concerned that the amendment would in fact reduce consumer clarity, be a barrier to growth for a burgeoning sector of the food industry, and ultimately make it more challenging for people to reduce the amount of meat in their diet at a time when Government should be seeking to encourage the opposite." The letter also notes that the amendment is "unlikely to apply directly…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that soy leghemoglobin has been approved for use "as a color additive in ground beef analogue products" following a petition submitted by Impossible Foods. The announcement notes that the agency previously found soy leghemoglobin to be generally recognized as safe as a flavor additive. "FDA concurs with the petitioner that the genetic modifications made to generate the non-toxigenic and non-pathogenic production strain are well-characterized and the production process conforms to good manufacturing practice," the announcement states. "In addition to specification limits for lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium, we are requiring a specification for the minimum purity of soy leghemoglobin protein as a percent of the total protein in the color additive." The rule takes effect September 4, 2019, and objections can be filed until September 3.

Upton's Naturals Co. has filed a lawsuit challenging Mississippi's law prohibiting the use of "meat" to describe products that are not derived from animals. Upton's Naturals Co. v. Bryant, No. 19-0462 (S.D. Miss., filed July 1, 2019). Upton's, which makes "vegan burgers," "vegan bacon" and "vegan chorizo," argues that the law is a "content-based regulation of speech" that "has no positive impact on society"—rather, it "harms society"—and "does not address any real problem in a meaningful way, but instead creates an artificial one" because it lowers consumer understanding of vegan products. Upton's seeks declaratory judgment that the law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, preliminary and permanent injunctions, attorney's fees and $1 in damages.

A New Zealand pizza restaurant is reportedly under investigation after it sold 3,000 "Burger Pizzas" that only featured a plant-based meat substitute rather than animal-derived meat. The company marketed the pizza topping as a "medium rare burger patty," and a company manager apparently asserted to the BBC that the description was accurate on its face. Many consumers seemed to respond negatively, noting that the stunt could have triggered allergies because of the lack of proper ingredient disclosure. The manager reportedly told BBC, "If covertly adding meat-free options onto a pizza encourages more people to be open-minded, we're happy to do that."

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