The Kansas House of Representatives is considering a bill regarding meat analogs — think such products as impossible burgers and plant-based products. The bill in question, HB 2437, would require these products to have labeling that essentially spells out they do not in fact contain any meat.
On the surface, the legislation seems pretty straight-forward right, but we suggest it might be more nuanced.
As we all know consumers hate being misled, but will these suggested label changes actually help consumers? Furthermore, what do consumers actually want? That remains unclear. Perhaps consumer advocates should come forward and let’s not forget grocers. They have a stake in this, too. If consumers deem this unnecessary, then why do it? That needs to be determined.
What kind of legal implications might stem from such a bill’s passage into law? Legal blog The Daily Intake run by the law firm Keller and Heckman LLP suggests there could be court challenges.
“Since 2018, 26 states have introduced similar labeling bills, many of which have been challenged in court,” the blog reports. “For instance, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas have all faced legal battles over their respective plant-based meat labeling laws.”
Will the labeling decisions made in Kansas have a larger impact on the U.S.? What does the FDA have to say about all of this?
What does big ag have to say about this?
It should come as no surprise that the Kansas Livestock Association is on board with the bill. The KLA however, is not in favor of its proposed amendments which offer additional language for producers to use such as “veggie” and “vegan” instead of the word “imitation” in front of the meat products they intend to emulate.
Do soybean and wheat producers think about this legislation? After all, many of the meat analog products are made from these grains along with peas, beats, mung beans, sunflower and canola oils, many of which are also produced in Kansas. So far, no one has weighed in from these groups.
HB 2437 passed out of the Committee on Agriculture last week and will be considered by the full House. Its sponsor is Rep. Ron Highland, a Republican from Wamego.
Clearly there are a few more questions that need to be resolved before this makes it to Gov. Kelly’s desk.
Now is the time to speak up if ever. Farmers, ranchers, lawyers, ag advocates, vegans, vegetarians, grocers, now is your chance to speak up and join this discussion. Lawmakers need to hear from you so they can make an informed decision.
Once a decision is made the last thing we need to hear is, “Where’s the beef?”