Veggie ‘Meat’ Maker Tofurky Wins Free Speech Challenge to Food-Labeling Law

Free speech, Tofurky win!. Vegetarian food producers can use legal terms such as sausageAnd BurgersAccording to a federal court decision, they should be in marketing.

The Tofurky Company, a plant-based “meat”, brought a suit against the Tofurky Company. Tofurky challenged a Louisiana law, called the Truth in Labeling of Food Products Act. It prohibited terms like MeatAnd sausageVegetarian product marketing: Products that qualify their use of such words with terms like plant-based, VeganOr vegetarian. The law—which took effect in October 2020—said those in violation could face fines of up to $500 per use of the term per day.

As plant-based alternatives to animal products—including meat, milk, and mayonnaise—have gained in popularity, there’s been a growing push (often driven by the likes of dairy farmers and other animal-product producers) to control what companies can call these alternative products. Louisiana’s law is being promoted by advocates who argue that naming vegetarian or vegan products with names used for animal products will deceive consumers and cause confusion.

This argument is absurd, as these products do not just have a unique name but also have a strange history. It is not worth itThey are often disguised as beef or dairy but they can be marketed to consumers as an alternative to animal-derived food. The labels of these products often clearly state that they’re plant-based and meatless or vegetarian. Tofurky brats or kielbasa and any other “meats” encasing them state that they are “plant based” sausages.

In its lawsuit against Louisiana, Tofurky—represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the Good Food Institute (GFI)—sought to halt enforcement of the labeling law, saying it violated its First Amendment rights.

Stephen Wells (ALDF Executive Director) stated in a statement that “Under Section 1 Amendment, companies have the right to market and label products truthfully in ways consumers recognize” and is consistent with their values.

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana is siding with the ALDF & the faux-meat firm, finding Louisiana’s law to restrict Tofurky’s speech unconstitutionally restrictive.

Jaime Athos from Tofurky, the CEO said that “The Louisiana Court has seen through the disingenuous pretext by which this law was passed” and that he intervened in order to preserve the First Amendment rights of Tofurky. “The law gave unfair advantage to animal agriculture by restricting the growth of plant-based foods sales. This ruling warns other state legislatures not to forget they were elected to meet the needs of their constituents and not corporate interests.”

Other states have passed laws similar to Louisiana’s Truth in Labeling of Food Products Act, such as Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi. In 2020, Arkansas’ law was stopped successfully by Tofurky (the ALDF), the GFI and the American Civil Liberties Union.

A federal court in New York ruled last year for Miyoko’s Creamery, in a case concerning Miyoko’s Creamery’s vegan product line’s usage of the term Vegan butter.

The U.S. Court of Appeals of the 9th Circuit also dismissed a lawsuit against Blue Diamond Growers, an almond milkmaker. milk.

These decisions should cause other states to think twice about trying to implement their own vegetarian food-labeling restrictions.


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