Tofurky Co., which produces plant-based alternatives to meat, filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday claiming an Arkansas law that bans the use of “meat” in product labeling violates free speech rights.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Oregon-based company against Arkansas’ Bureau of Standards. Tofurky produces tofu, quinoa and other plant-based “sausages,” deli slices and burgers.
The stated goal of the Arkansas law set to take effect Wednesday is to “require truth in labeling.” It would fine companies up to $1,000 for each violation. It also bans companies from labeling other vegetables, such as cauliflower, as “rice.”
Meat producers nationwide have been lobbying to protect labeling from plant-based and meat grown by culturing animal cells, arguing for terms like “synthetic meat” or even “fake meat.”
In the lawsuit, Tofurky argues that in order to comply with the law, the company must now design specific, Arkansas-compliant packaging, change the packaging nationwide, stop selling in the state or knowingly break the law. “Each of these options puts Tofurky Co. at a significant commercial disadvantage,” the company writes.