Tofurky doesn’t sell meat, but it’s suing Missouri so it can sell ‘meat’

Tofurky hot dog
Tofurky hot dog Tofurky, Facebook

Nobody goes into a grocery store for Tofurky deli slices “thinking they were carved from a slaughtered animal” any more than shoppers are purchasing almond milk “thinking it was squeezed from a cow’s udder,” The Good Food Institute says in a statement regarding a new Missouri “meat” law.

Tofurkey, The Good Food Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri are suing the state of Missouri after the state signed a law that prohibits manufacturers from marketing their products as “meat” if they don’t come from a slaughtered animal.

The lawsuit was filed Monday, just one day after the Missouri law went into effect, the Associated Press reported.

Tofurky said that if the law isn’t changed, it will have to change its product packaging, the AP reported.

Tofurky uses names such as “hot dogs” and “artisan sausage” in its packaging, which is considered “misleading” and illegal under the new Missouri law.

“Plant-based meat products that use such terms like ‘deli slices,’ ‘burger,’ ‘sausages,’ or ‘hot dogs,’ with accompanying qualifying and descriptive language, clearly indicate that the products are plant based and accurately convey to consumers the products’ ingredients,” the lawsuit claims.

When the Missouri law was passed, Rep. Jeff Knight, R-Lebanon, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the law is a way to “protect our product.” The bill was backed by the state’s pork producers, the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, the newspaper reported.

“Missouri is putting its thumb on the scale to unfairly benefit the meat industry and silence alternative producers,” Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s executive director, said in The Good Food Institute’s statement. “This law violates various constitutional principles, including free speech – which should be a concern for everyone, regardless of diet.”

Several people came out in support for Tofurky.

The war over “fake meat” started earlier this year when the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association claimed in a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that calling products “clean meat,” “cultured meat” or “lab grown beef” is unfair and deceptive, McClatchy reported.

“U.S. cattle producers take pride in developing the highest quality, and safest, beef in the world, and labels must clearly distinguish that difference,” USCA president Kenny Graner said in a statement.

In North Carolina, the 2018 Farm Bill would require that liquid would have to come from an animal with hooves if it is labeled as “milk,” the Charlotte News-Observer reported. If passed, almond milk could not be called “milk.”

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