Missouri has passed a law that will protect consumers from the dangers of unwittingly purchasing fake or lab-grown meat.
On Tuesday, the state passed the first law in the nation prohibiting companies from “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry,” the law reads.
The law was lobbied by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, USA Today reports. The group was concerned about the shoppers being confused by plant-based or lab-grown meat, synthetic meat that is grown from cultured animal cells, posing as meat from an animal.
"The big issue was marketing with integrity and ... consumers knowing what they’re getting," Missouri Cattlemen’s Association spokesman Mike Deering said to USA Today. "There's so much unknown about this."
The law states, “Currently, no person advertising, offering for sale, or selling a carcass shall engage in any misleading or deceptive practice including misrepresenting the cut, grade, brand or trade name, or weight or measure of any product.”
Manufacturers that fail to comply with the new law will face a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is lobbying for a similar law at the federal level – prohibiting lab-grown and fake meat from using the words “beef” and “meat” in their marketing.
Tofurkey, along with Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Good Food Institute (GFI) filed a lawsuit against the Missouri law.
“All of these products that are currently on the market use descriptors that say what the source of the ingredients [is] ... you’re going to find something that says soy-based vegan beef crumbles,” the GFI’s director of policy, Jessica Almy told NPR. “These compound names, like plant-based chicken, communicate to consumers what the source of the food is.”