Lawsuit: Mississippi meat-labeling law violates free speech

Vegan meal. Chickpea veggie burger with fresh vegetables on rustic cutting board

JACKSON, Miss. – A federal lawsuit says Mississippi is violating free-speech rights by banning makers of plant-based foods from using terms such as “meatless meatballs” and “vegan bacon.”

The lawsuit was filed Monday by the Plant Based Foods Association and the Illinois-based Upton’s Naturals Co. , which makes vegan products and sells them in many states, including Mississippi. It was filed the same day Mississippi enacted a new law that bans plant-based products from being labeled as meat.

A similar lawsuit was filed in Missouri last year by the Oregon-based Tofurky Co., which makes vegetarian food products, and The Good Food Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for alternatives to meat. A Missouri law made it a misdemeanor to label plant-based products as meat.

Meat producers have been pushing to protect meat terminology.

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