- The Washington Times - Monday, July 22, 2019

Tofurky sued the state of Arkansas on Monday, challenging a new law that bars companies from advertising faux meats with words suggesting their meat equivalents such as beef, sausage, pork and roasts.

The case, brought with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, says the company has a First Amendment right to explain its product in clear terms that make sense to consumers, and the Arkansas law hinders that.

“Instead, it creates a consumer confusion where none existed before in order to impede competition,” the company says in its lawsuit.

Tofurky made its bones selling a tofu-based imitation of turkey, a category of food dubbed “plant-based meats.”

The company says it adhered to federal Food and Drug Administration rules already, and customers aren’t confused when they see advertising for “veggie bacon.” Indeed, that tells them just what they need to know, Tofurky says.



Arkansas officials say its law, which takes effect Wednesday, is an exercise in truth in labeling. The law appears to have been aimed at protecting the state’s rice industry against substitutes such as cauliflower “rice.”

If the law is violated, a company could be fined up to $1,000 for each package.

Tofurky says the law would ban labels such as “plant-based jumbo hot dogs” or “smoked ham style plant-based deli slices.” The company asked a federal judge to issue an injunction against the law.

Nikhil Soman, the director of the Arkansas Bureau of Standards who is named as a defendant, said the agency has not yet been served with the complaint and has no comment at this time.

Jane Roberta Bambauer, a law professor at the University of Arizona, predicted Tofurky and the ACLU will prevail.

“The act is designed to prevent the plant-based food industry from making clear non-misleading statements comparing their products to meat in order to protect the legislature’s favored constituents (the meat industry) from honest competition,” she said.

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