Tofurky sues to stop Missouri law over meat terminology

1 year 10 months 1 week ago Monday, August 27 2018 Aug 27, 2018 Monday, August 27, 2018 12:45:00 PM CDT August 27, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Vegetarian food-maker Tofurky filed a lawsuit in Missouri on Monday seeking to defend its right to describe its products with meat terminology such as "sausage" and "hot dogs," as long as the packaging makes clear what the ingredients are.

The Hood River, Oregon-based company and The Good Food Institute, which advocates for plant-based diets, say a Missouri law set to take effect Tuesday that bars companies from "misrepresenting" products as meat if they're not from "harvested livestock or poultry" is too vague and could be used to go after a range of vegetarian products that use such terminology. Tofurky says if the law is allowed to stand, it would have to change its packaging.

The Missouri Cattlemen's Association, which supported the statute, said its concern isn't with products like Tofurky that make clear they're from plants. Mike Deering, the group's executive vice president, said the worry is the emerging science of meat grown by culturing animal cells in a lab, and whether they'll disclose how they were made once they're on the market.

As companies push newer meat substitutes, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has also said protecting "beef nomenclature" is a priority. The U.S. Cattlemen's Association, a smaller group, petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture in February to enforce that "beef" and "meat" only be used for animals "born, raised and harvested in the traditional manner."

Mary Compton, a spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, said her office will defend the law against Tofurky's challenge.

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