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Issue of meatless meatballs rolling into federal court

Posted On: Jul. 3, 2019 9:57 AM CST


The makers of meatless meatballs and vegan bacon are suing the State of Mississippi over the state’s new law that bans plant-based food from being labeled as meat, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. 

A federal lawsuit filed by Chicago vegan food maker Upton’s Naturals Co. and the Plant Based Foods Association on Monday asserts that the state is violating free-speech rights and that “the ban serves only to create consumer confusion where none previously existed,” the wire service reported.

The suit is backed by the Institute for Justice, a free-market advocacy group, and was filed on the same day Mississippi enacted the new law, according to the wire service.

Missouri enacted a similar law in recent years, a law that spurred a similar suit last year, the wire service reported. Another state law in Louisiana will go into effect in 2020. 

Meanwhile, the meat industry has been pushing to protect its terminology as companies develop more plant-based products that look and taste similar to meat, according to the wire service. One proponent told a reporter that consumers could confuse “fake steak” for the real thing.