By Scottie Andrew and Allison Morrow, CNNIf you think a veggie burger sounds unappealing, wait until it's listed as a "vegetable-based protein" on a restaurant menu.
That's how it could appear in Arkansas, the latest in a string of states to pass bills that control how so-called fake meat is marketed.
The state's "truth in labeling" bill is set to take effect this week, banning the use of meat-related terminology to describe meatless products. The bill's authors say it's an effort to "protect consumers from being misled or confused."
But veggie-meat maker Tofurky says it won't be silenced. On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union said it had filed a free-speech lawsuit against the director of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Standards on behalf of the vegetarian brand.
The ACLU says that the state has violated the First Amendment, "censoring truthful speech in order to protect the economic interests of the meat industry."
According to the bill, plant-based "meats" such as those made from soy, tempeh, wheat or lab-cultured ingredients are not classified as meat. Companies found to misrepresent a vegetarian item as a meat product could be fined $1,000 per violation.
The ACLU said companies use "meat" terminology to prevent confusion rather than cause it. The language can help consumers contextualize a food's flavor, texture and appearance.
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles