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Burgers, Imposters, & You:
What Is Meat?!

WHAT?!  IS?!  MEAT?!
Missouri Says Animal Flesh; Others Disagree

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When it comes to meat products, this is a major market within the United States. Not Counting Lady Gaga wearing a slab of red meats, Americans on average consume over 100 pounds of meat per year. But, what does meat have to do with law?

On August 29th, 2018, a Missouri law was passed to require that only products that come from slaughterhouses, once-breathing animals can be marketed as meat. Specifically, the law labels meat as something that is harvest from production livestock or poultry. The law is intended to inform the public on what exactly is in the product.

For instance, in cases in which plant-based products (soy, eggplant, etc.) are made into burgers, they cannot be labeled as such since they did not come from a slaughterhouse and were not “once-breathing animals.”

A similar bill is currently being reviewed within the Senate. The US Department of Agriculture is considering to establish beef and meat labeling requirements and to exclude products not derived directly from animals raised and slaughtered from the definition of “beef” and “meat”.

The reason for this law, on a federal level, is to better inform consumers and there are no labeling requirements currently for labeling beef or meat. The major concern is from a non-profit corporation from Montana called the “United States Cattlemen’s Association” and are concerned with the ‘synthetic products’ being introduced into the market and being marketed as ‘beef’.

The controversy over this case comes from people who consider plant-based products as ‘meaty’ or ‘soy roast beef’. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit say that this categorizing infringes on the First Amendment rights and prevents the clear and accurate labeling of plant-based and clean meat products. The plaintiffs claim that this is a way for them to stifle plant-based meats in grocery stores.

A similar lawsuit was filed in Florida. A state law required milk product to be labeled as “skim milk” only if it had the same level of Vitamin A as whole milk. Dairy farmers begged to differ and sued, saying that their product was skim milk and should be deemed as such. Ultimately, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in the dairy farmer’s favor since the farm’s “use of the words ‘skim milk’ to describe its skim milk is not inherently misleading.”

 

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Questions:

1) What does the US Department of Agriculture do?

2) How do you feel the First Amendment does or does not apply to this case?

3) Should plant-based products be allowed to use the word ‘meat’ in their name, and why do you feel that way?

4) Missouri limiting what can be labeled as ‘meat’ is not the only example of ‘restricted speech’ on food products.  Either Federally and nationally, or even just in a single state, list one other example of food having law-based requirements about how it can be named and labeled (or alternatively, one kind of food label that has NO legal requirements, even though you think it should have some!)     

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/29/642937901/whats-meat-anyway-missouri-label-law-says-it-comes-from-an-animal-some-disagree?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180829

http://www.uscattlemen.org/Templates/pdfs_USCA/2018-PDFs/2-9-18USCA-AMS-Petition-re-definition-of-beef-and-meat.pdf

Contributed by – J. Pennington

#Tagged #TaggedWithMeat




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