What do you think when you hear the word “meat”? Animals, right? That’s what the state law dictates the people of Missouri to think as well.
What do you mean by that?
I mean, that late August, this year, a law got passed that now prohibits food makers from using the word “meat” to refer to anything other than animal flesh. Missouri became the first state in the U.S. to have a law on the books about this concern. The state law forbids "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Any violators of this law may be fined $1,000 and they can be imprisoned for a year.
What are the other types of meat?
There’s Clean Meat and there’s Plant-based meat.
Clean meat is a type of lab-grown meat which is made from cultured animal tissue cells. It’s also called synthetic meat or vitro meat. Animal products are necessary in order to make lab-grown meat, namely, stem cells and fetal serum. So it isn’t completely devoid of all original animal matter.
Plant-based meats are totally green substitutes for meat. Plant-based meats try to achieve the same taste, texture and look as actual meat; this is what makes them different from a regular veggie steak/patty. This is basically soy and tofu pretending to be beef.
But Meat substitutes are good for the environment, right? Why the new law?
It was the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association which worked to get the law passed. According to them, the fake meats instigated confusion amongst the shoppers. It apparently "prevents the sharing of truthful information and impedes competition". The law technically protects the local ranchers from losing out on business.
Here’s the thing, if you ask a meat-lover to have a soy burger, they probably won’t. But if you tell them to have a clean meat or plant meat burger, they actually might. The word creates an image in your head that cannot be changed overnight. What the meat alternatives were doing was trying to convince people to give them a try so that there might be a chance to reduce our carbon footprint. Was this new law a regressive move for Missouri?