The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Tofurky Co. on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas Bureau of Standards challenging a new law (Act 501)that prohibits the labeling of plant-based meat alternatives as “meat” or related terms like “beef,” “pork,” “roast,” “sausage” and “burger.”
Plaintiffs allege that Act 501 “is a restriction on commercial speech that prevents companies from sharing truthful and non-misleading information about their products.” Instead of protecting the public from the misleading information, “it creates consumer confusion where none existed before in order to impede competition.” Therefore, according to the plaintiffs, Act 501 is in violation of the Free Speech Clause, Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the dormant Commerce Clause.
According to the complaint, consumers are not confused about plant-based meat, because the labeling is truthful, and does not violate applicable labeling requirements set forth by the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Plaintiffs allege that Act 501 “is specifically designed to disadvantage purveyors of plant- and cell-based meats by restricting how they market, package and sell their products.”
Act 501 is set to take effect Wednesday and joins similar laws in several other states.