Texas lawmakers have passed a bill to ban the terms 'meat', 'beef and 'chicken' on the labels of plant-based food products.
On Monday, Texas state lawmakers approved House Bill 316 which will place restrictions on the labelling of plant-based proteins.
The bill will ban plant-based food products from using terms such as ‘meat’, ‘beef’ and ‘chicken’ to describe the product on its label.
This will also apply to cell-cultured ‘meat’ when it comes to market over the coming years.
Bill 316 has garnered support from various livestock companies including the Texas Poultry Federation, Texas Pork Producers Association and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
While lawmakers claim that the new legislation will benefit the consumer, it is clear that in reality, it will benefit those with a vested interest – the animal agriculture industry.
What these restrictions will do is harbour a fear of plant-based alternatives and drive traffic back towards animal products.
With plant-based alternatives skyrocketing in popularity, it is only natural that the meat industry would be scared, and this is how it retaliates.
Plant-based meats are confusing?
Texas State Rep Brad Buckley argued that: “Our goal here today with this bill is to have clear and accurate labelling so the consumer has no doubt what they’re purchasing.
“The most frequent call I’ve gotten is from vegetarians that are for this bill.”
However, the insinuation that a consumer would pick up a pack of Beyond Meat burgers thinking it was animal-based is frankly insulting. Essentially, those in government think we’re all stupid.
The same argument was used in the proposal of the EU Plant-based Dairy Ban, which seeks to ban the use of terms such as ‘cheese style’ and ‘butter alternative’ to describe plant-based dairy products.
In fact, the EU dairy ban actually goes much further than the Texas Bill, as it sets out to also ban the use of dairy-associated packaging such as milk cartons and butter tubs. Can you imagine spraying oat milk on your cereal in the morning?
Omitting these descriptions would be more confusing
A new study carried out by Cornell University concluded that ‘consumers are no more likely to think that plant-based products come from an animal if the product’s name incorporates words traditionally associated with animal products than if it does not’.
In fact, it argued that ‘omitting words that are traditionally associated with animal products from the names of plant-based products actually causes consumers to be significantly more confused about the taste and uses of these products’.
To this aim, the EU plant-based dairy ban and the Texas bill will actually cause more confusion than it claims to prevent.
Both bills will still need to go through further rounds of approval to become law, but we hope this does not come to pass and the plant-based bans are stopped in their tracks.
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