Meat Analogue Labeling Suit Settled in Mississippi

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Nov 21, 2019

Both sides are claiming victory in the settlement of a lawsuit in Mississippi over how meat analogue products can be labeled.

At issue was a state regulation interpreting a law passed early this year about labeling of meat analogues. The initial regulation banned the use of meat-related terms like “burger” or “hot dog” on packaging or advertising of such products.

The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) sued last summer to overturn the regulations. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture revised them to allow meat-related terms as long as other verbiage made the nature of the products clear with words like “meat-free,” “meatless,” “plant-based,” “vegetarian” or “vegan.” The change led the PBFA to withdraw its lawsuit earlier this month.

The PFBA claimed “total victory,” saying “the Mississippi Department of Agriculture has done the right thing, so there is no need to move forward with the lawsuit.”

For his part, Andy Gipson, Mississippi commissioner of agriculture and commerce, issued a statement calling the lawsuit “hogwash” and said all PFBA needed was to work with Mississippi officials on the proposed rules.

Fourteen states have passed laws regulating the advertising and labeling of meat analogue products, and federal legislation is being considered. Lawsuits over labeling laws are pending in Arkansas and Missouri.