Cyndi's Two Cents

Choice and labeling go hand in hand

Commentary.

One of the great aspects of being a citizen of these United States of America is the many freedoms we enjoy.  Among those freedoms is the right to make our own decisions about whether we want to drink milk, eat meat, drive a Volkswagen van or change our legal name to Bluebell Spirit Rainbow.  Although many aspects of our lives are over-regulated and over-taxed, I’ll put my country up against any other country in the world.

No amount of advertising and fearmongering from animal rights activists disguised as nutrition experts is going to convince me that I should become a vegetarian.  I do not expect those herbivorous humans who prefer to feed only on plants to hear a radio commercial about the Friday night steak special at the Bowling Alley to suddenly become omnivorous. It simply doesn’t work that way. 

I think truth in labeling is important because I like, well, the truth.  I’ve said many times that marketing is good and lying is not. 

Many in animal agriculture have voiced strong opinions regarding the labeling of fake meat and milk.  Several states, including Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and Louisiana have labeling laws in place that prohibit companies from misleading consumers into believing that a product is meat from livestock when it is actually plant-based or grown in a lab. 

A bipartisan bill was introduced in the US House in late October of 2019 that would regulate the labeling of artificial meat. Representatives Roger Marshall (R) of Kansas and Anthony Brindisi (D) of New York introduced the Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act of 2019 to help consumers distinguish beef from alternative protein products. The bill would codify the definition of beef for labeling purposes, reinforce existing misbranding provisions to eliminate consumer confusion and ensure communication between the USDA and FDA to enforce the new branding.

I do not have a bone to pick with those who create, sell, or consume plant-based patties. I like variety in my diet but given a choice, I do prefer a real meat patty over one made of pea or textured soybean protein, fungi, buts, seeds, potatoes or black beans. But hip-hip-hooray! As an adult human living in the land of the free and the home of the brave, I am free to choose.

Let’s face it, not all vegans and vegetarians are buzzed up about the sudden popularity of the plant-based burgers available at many fast food chains and grocery stores.  Last month, a suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by a vegan on behalf of other vegans, claiming Burger King has “contaminated” the Impossible Burgers by exposing them to meat byproducts on the grill. 

Responding to an article about fake meat on the Brownfield Ag News website, one man commented, “I’ve been a vegetarian for more than twenty-five years, and I wonder why Burger King thinks a fake meat burger is going to make me want their food… especially since it replicates meat.”

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