Tofurky challenges Texas labeling law

Legal challenge alleges Texas’ Truth in Labeling Law favors the animal agriculture industry.

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Tofurky Burger Package

A Texas food labeling law is being challenged on behalf of plant-based turkey company Tofurky, with the plaintiff claiming the law imposes unclear and vague standards on plant-based meat producers.

On August 31, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the Good Food Institute (GFI), filed the legal complaint.

The law being challenged is SB 664, which took effect one day after the complaint was filed. Known as the Truth in Labeling Law, food companies will be in violation of the law if the food’s labels, brands, images, depictions or graphics misrepresent the contents of the package. The law stipulates that for imitation meats, such as Tofurky plant-based turkey products, must have some sort of disclaimer such as “this product does not contain animal protein,” or words or phrases such as, “meatless,” “meat-free” or “plant-based.”

“Texas lawmakers are following what is now, unfortunately, a well-worn playbook that benefits large animal agriculture special interests at the expense of their constituents,” Tofurky CEO Jaime Athos said in a press release. “Texas consumers deserve unfettered access to the foods of their choosing, and it is insulting to their intelligence – and contrary to the facts – to suggest that they are being misled into selecting plant-based options. Texans are smart enough to understand that ‘plant-based’ foods are, in fact, made of plants. We hope the courts are likewise smart enough to see through this pretext of ‘confusion’ and hold unconstitutional these lawmakers’ efforts to install regulatory hurdles intended to stifle the growth of the plant-based industry and limit consumer choice.”

Tourky, ALDF and GFI claim SB 664 is a violation of the Commerce Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Supremacy Clause and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Truth in Labeling Law was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 15.

The Texas Department of State Health Services will be responsible for enforcing the law.

Tofurky was purchased by Japan-based tofu manufacturer Morinaga Nutritional Foods earlier in 2023.

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