We have blogged, most recently on January 3, 2020, about the status of so-called “ag-gag” laws.  These laws are designed to prevent undercover scrutiny of agricultural operations to uncover cruelty to animals, food safety violations, or other malfeasance.  For the most part, courts have struck down these laws as infringing on the First Amendment.

On January 22, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Kansas struck down most of Kansas’ ag-gag law as violative of the First Amendment.  This particular statute has been around since 1990, although there has never been any prosecution under it.


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On October 15, 2019, we blogged about the District Court’s decision to deny Tofurky a preliminary injunction against Missouri’s meatless meat statute. The statute itself purports to ban as misleading the use of words such as “meat” or “sausage” or “burger” to describe plant- or lab-based food products. It does not contain a safe harbor if the labeling or other advertising clearly discloses the plant- or lab-based origin of the product. Based on representations from the state department of agriculture that it would not refer any case for prosecution if the product had such disclosures, the District Court denied the injunction. Tofurky has appealed.

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On October 21, 2019, we blogged about the constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 12, which prohibits the sale in California of eggs, pork or veal produced by animals not raised in accordance with California animal protection rights. As we explained, plaintiffs have moved for a preliminary injunction.
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We have blogged several times, most recently on October 15, 2019, about the so-called meatless meat statutes. These statutes attempt to protect producers of meat from competition from plant- or lab-based foods that are engineered to look and taste like real meat. The stated rationale is to prevent purveyors of meatless meat from misleading consumers. As is the case with many consumer protection statutes, the real objective is to protect competitors.

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Our latest blog post on this proposition was on January 17, 2019, which discussed the efforts of various states to challenge California’s ban on the sale of eggs, pork and veal that have not been raised according to California’s strict standards for animal protection. Those standards establish minimum space requirements considerably more generous than the industry standards. The ban originally applied only to California farmers, but they quickly realized that they would be at a substantial competitive disadvantage if the ban did not apply to such foods produced in other states. In 2010, the legislature extended the egg ban to all states.

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We last blogged about Tofurky’s challenge to Missouri’s meatless meat statute on September 16, 2019.  Settlement negotiations had broken down and the parties asked the District Court to address plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.  On September 30, 2019, the Court issued an order certifying a defendant class consisting of the prosecuting attorneys in each county in Missouri.  To our considerable surprise however, the Court denied the motion for preliminary injunction.
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We blogged on April 16, 2019, about the legal challenge to Missouri’s prohibition of characterizing plant- or cell-based products as “meat.” In response to plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, the state made no effort to defend the statute as written. Instead, it argued that the state Department of Agriculture had issued a statement that it would not refer any manufacturer for prosecution if the labeling clearly disclosed the origin of the product. That statement was not, however, binding on the county prosecutors whose duty it is to enforce the statute.

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On April 10, 2019, we blogged about Minerva Dairy’s challenge to the Wisconsin butter grading statute. On June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari.  Given the strength of the dairy lobby in Wisconsin – until the mid-1960’s manufacturers of margarine were not permitted to compare its taste to butter –