Federal Court Rules Against Arkansas Law Prohibiting Vegan Companies From Using Terms Like “Burger”

A federal court has ruled to block a law passed in Arkansas which prohibits vegan companies like Tofurky from using terms like “meat” and “burger” in any of its products.

The court ruled that Arkansas’ House Bill 1407 (the “Truth in Labeling” bill) – passed by lawmakers in March – cannot go into effect while a pending lawsuit moves forward. The lawsuit comes from vegan meat company Tofurky, with the support of the ACLU, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and The Good Food Institute: They are arguing that the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech. If the law did go into effect, terms like “meat” and “burger” could only be used if the product comes from an animal, meaning products couldn’t be labelled “veggie burgers” or “plant-based meat”.

“We are pleased that the court blocked this unconstitutional law from being enforced while our underlying lawsuit proceeds, so that consumers can continue to have access to familiar plant-based products in Arkansas for the foreseeable future,” says Tofurky CEO Jaime Athos. “Plant-based foods are increasingly popular with savvy consumers who understand the health and environmental consequences of their actions and it brings us no small joy that these individuals will be able to set their everyday and holiday tables with the products of their choice. While they do, we will fight the law in court.”

The Good Food Institute’s Director of Policy Jessica Almy says: “This is a victory for free speech, free markets, and consumer choice. Had this law been enforced, Tofurky would have faced a terrible choice: create confusing new labels for Arkansas with absurd language like “veggie tubes” and “veggie discs,” risk violating the law, or stop selling food in Arkansas altogether”.

She continues; “The court has put a stop to the significant government overreach and Arkansas consumers are now free to have all the choices available to consumers in other states.”

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