Arkansas, which produces more rice than any other state, has passed a law forbidding products made from cauliflower or other vegetables to call itself “rice.”
The law, which goes into effect in August, was signed in late March by governor Asa Hutchinson. It sets a fine of $1,000 for products labeled as “rice” that contain no actual rice, with the money earmarked for a state agricultural fund. The word “riced,” as in “Riced Cauliflower” or “Riced Vegetables” – the name of products put out by companies include Green Giant, Cascadian Farms and Birds Eye – is acceptable.
Rep. David Hillman, a rice farmer who supported the legislation, called it “a fairness issue.”
“Yes, I will plead guilty to anyone that says I supported this to defend the rice industry,” Hillman told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
The Arkansas law also forbids plant-based or cell-cultured products from labeling or describing themselves as “beef.” Similar legislation has been passed or is pending in four other states, even as a law in Missouri, the first to pass such legislation, is undergoing a court challenge.