Mississippi, like many other states, recently passed a transparency law discerning fake meats. The new labeling law ultimately wants to clarify on packaging where the meat is derived from. Mississippi’s new law, which went into effect July 1, prohibits mislabeling of food products derived from animal cultures, plants, and insects as meat or meat food products. However, not everyone is happy with the new rule, and the State of Mississippi is now facing a lawsuit.
The law states, “A food product that contains cultured animal tissue produced from animal cell cultures outside of the organism from which it is derived shall not be labeled as meat or a meat food product. A plant-based or insect-based food product shall not be labeled as meat or a meat food product.”
Also similar to other states, Mississippi is facing backlash for their new labeling laws from plant-based companies. Under the new law, it is unlawful to have the term “veggie burgers” on packaging. Unsurprisingly, plant-based companies are not happy with the new rule.
Last week, Upton’s Naturals Co. and the Plant Based Foods Association, sued the State of Mississippi in federal court, stating the new law violates their First Amendment right to free speech.
Andy Gipson, Mississippi’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, said the State of Mississippi was sued in federal court by out-of-state interests seeking to block Mississippi’s new meat labeling law. “It is unfortunate the plaintiffs have resorted to litigation without reviewing our proposed rules, or offering comments to those proposed rules.
“The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce has a duty and obligation to enforce the law and the will of the people as expressed by the legislature. This will be an opportunity for us to defend legislative intent, and defend common sense.
“A food product made of insect-protein should not be deceptively labeled as beef. Someone looking to purchase tofu should not be tricked into buying lab-grown animal protein. Words mean something. We look forward to defending the law to make sure Mississippi consumers have clear information on the meat and non-meat products they purchase.”
While Mississippi continues down the litigation process, the rest of the country stands watch for the outcome of the new labeling law.