Mississippi has taken to outlawing the use of "meat terms" for any plant-based food items and now some food makers are challenging those rules in a federal lawsuit, arguing that the restrictions violate their free speech rights.
Plant-based food producers want to be able to use terms like meatless meatballs or vegan bacon but under the restrictions they are prevented from using those terms.
The restrictions are obviously going to cause plenty of difficulty for those trying to introduce plant-based alternatives into the market. We shouldn't be sending people to jail over what they prefer to call a "burger". These restrictions can also cause confusion for the consumer, and they do infringe upon the rights of individuals to call their product whatever they want.
Other lawsuits have also been launched against food labeling restrictions in places like Missouri.
If you want to be sure of what you are eating, leaving it up to a label alone might not be your best bet and you can always turn to the internet to research the companies that you are buying from to find out more about the products. Or, you can go down to your local farmers market etc and speak to those growers directly.
The Plant Based Foods Association has argued in the current lawsuit that no consumer would reasonably mistake meatless steaks for real meat, or vegan jerky for real beef jerky etc. The lawsuit argues that the terms help to increase consumer understanding of the product, such as how they might eat or prepare the item. Whether it's banning almond milk companies from referring to their products as "milk" or banning plant-based food companies from creating "veggie hot dogs," it's clear that the state isn't helping to make things easier for the individual in any circumstance.