Status (4/13/21): PBFA founding member Upton’s Naturals joined forces with the Institute for Justice to file a federal lawsuit challenging a new OK food labeling law as a violation of the First Amendment. Unfortunately, a federal judge denied them, forcing plant-based companies that want to sell food in OK to redesign their labels as if plant-based foods are potentially harmful.
The Plant Based Foods Association strongly opposes HB 3806, signed into law on Tuesday by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. Irrefutably unnecessary and unconstitutional, the law presents an unwarranted attack on innovation and the free speech rights of those in the food industry to use words and phrases that consumers understand. Plant-based foods, including those produced by our 175 member companies, are already in full compliance with existing laws and FDA regulations. This, coupled with the complete lack of evidence that consumers experience confusion regarding plant-based meats, shows the unnecessary nature of this bill.
As we have done in other states, the Plant Based Foods Association and its members will take all necessary legal action to ensure that our First Amendment rights are protected. This bill will likely not withstand a constitutional challenge in court. We have been down this road before, and each time PBFA members have successfully protected their free speech rights to fairly and accurately label their foods.
Moreover, PBFA has already established solid industry guidance for the labeling of plant-based meats, including recommendations that a prominent plant-based label be placed on the product’s principal display panel. These guidelines provide sufficient clarity for consumers without putting any food companies at an unfair advantage.
PBFA will continue to work towards maintaining a level playing field for our member companies and consumers across the nation that are entitled to the benefits that come from plant-based innovation.
Link to May 15, 2020 PBFA letter to OK Governor Stitt requesting a veto of HB 3806: https://plantbasedfoods.org/pbfa-calls-oklahoma-governor-to-veto-meat-labeling-bill/