JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s new labeling law concerning what constitutes meat is turning some heads, and the latest reaction may be one of the most extreme.
PETA on Wednesday announced it would be placing a new billboard in Jefferson City and Columbia, depicting a cow’s bloody head with the words “Meet Your Meat. The Truth Hurts. Go Vegan” as depicted below.
The new regulation seeks to limit items classified as meat in order to combat “fake meat”, with the activist organization saying the law was a response to “a panic attack in the meat industry over the astounding rise of vegan foods, including “taste-alikes” that, because they’re made of plants and nuts, contain zero cholesterol, don’t pollute the earth and waterways with animal waste, aren’t linked to environmentally devastating gas emissions, and are 100 percent humane.”
“Missouri’s new law is a desperate and fruitless attempt to fight the skyrocketing popularity of humane vegan foods,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA’s message is that if the meat industry truly wanted informed consumers, it would put video cameras in every slaughterhouse and crowded, filthy cattle pen.”
The new law faces two court challenges at this time.
But following the release from PETA, the Missouri Department of Agriculture issued a statement of its own, saying that the Show-Me State was the first state to take steps to prevent the misrepresentation of products as meat, and sought to clarify how the changes will be implemented.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture is providing the following guidance to our Meat and Poultry Inspection Program to implement the law:
• Products must include a prominent statement on the front of the package, immediately before or immediately after the product name, that the product is “plant-based,” “veggie,” “lab-grown,” “lab-created” or a comparable qualifier; and
• Products must include a prominent statement on the package that the product is “made from plants,” “grown in a lab,” or a comparable disclosure.
• No enforcement referrals will be made until Jan. 1, 2019.
The Department said that the new guidelines will be phased in over the next four months to give companies time to comply.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.