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Burger v. Burger: Unpacking the Rise in Litigation Surrounding Meat Substitutes with “Voice of America”

August 21, 2019

As the meat industry lobbies to bar the makers of plant-based foods from calling their products meat—a strategy that has yielded new legislation in more than two dozen states—meat-substitute companies are pushing back, taking their fight to courts across the country.

Hannah Chanoine, an O’Melveny partner specializing in consumer products litigation, recently shared her insights with Voice of America.

“Nothing says, ‘congratulations, you’ve arrived,’ like a lobbying effort by your biggest competitors,” said Chanoine, who also teaches US Food Law and Policy at Columbia Law School. “There has been a real uptick in plant-based alternatives. The consumer imagination has been really captured by excellent new products on the market that are coming far closer to mimicking the taste and texture and experience of eating meat. And so, a number of entrenched interests in the meat industry have lobbied for regulation, both at the state level and in the federal government … Most recently, the state of Arkansas banned companies who make plant-based meat from using words that describe food that comes from animals, like turkey, steak, bacon, burgers, hot dogs, milk. So you wouldn’t be able to say, ‘this is a plant-based burger’ or ‘this is a tofu dog.’”

Listen to the full interview below.

Segment shared courtesy of Voice of America's International Edition