Some Maryland legislators say they want to solve a problem that doesn’t exist (“Maryland bill would define what can be labeled ‘meat’,” Feb. 3).

But no one is confused by a “veggie burger” label. No one is buying plant-based chick’n thinking it came from an animal. It is insulting and condescending to Marylanders to think that we can be “tricked” into buying beef-less beef or vegan sausages. And even if some of us were as easily fooled as these legislators claim, there are already federal laws prohibiting misleading labels.

If Maryland were to pass this bill, it would not only harm businesses and consumers; it would cost taxpayers money. Other states that are trying to censor labels have had to spend money futilely defending these unconstitutional attempts. In Arkansas last year, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction preventing that state’s label censorship law from being enforced, writing that the plaintiff would “likely prevail” on First Amendment grounds.

Simply put, it is a bad idea for the government to try to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. We should respect consumers’ choices, defeat this bill, and avoid wasting taxpayer money on a losing court case.

Emily Hennessee

Mount Rainier

(15) comments

Captain Yossarian

People don't want to pay for meat and end up buying some ground GMO soy with hydrated pig skins.

I am sure that it will hurt business that is selling people that stuff and labeling it as meat.


If they are too dumb to read labels, they deserve to eat whatever they get.


How would labelling meat products hurt consumers and tax payers? Should you wait until something becomes a big problem before you address it? How short is your memory? Don't you remember those good ol' days a couple years ago when virtually all hamburger had "slime" added to it to increase profits? And the consumers didn't know? And it took activists to publicize it? And now--poof--no more slime. If you think greedy manufacturers would never consider misleading consumers, I'm not sure where you have been for the last 10,000 years.


So Impossible Burgers and Beyond Burgers should have to change their names to avoid confusion??


Mamlukman, the difference here is that what you derisively termed "slime" was actually recovered meat protein from the same carcass that produced the cuts of meat used in other ground meat products, such as hamburger, sausage, hot dogs, and the like. The term was coined by Gerald Zirnstein, the former meat inspector at the USDA. The real term for this is finely textured beef, which was a meat paste. There was nothing detrimental whatsoever to the end product. It was the off the cuff name that confused customers, and set them against it.

As for plant-based foods, they are properly labeled now, and nobody is going to confuse them with animal based protein. Nobody confuses a turkey burger with a hamburger either.


And speaking....”ham”burger.


And speaking of misleading....”ham”burger


Yep! 🐃🍗😁


🐖🐷 oops! Forgot the ham!

Alice Jones

Hopefully the meat inspectors (employees of the processors) are doing their jobs. Chow down, fellas!


The inspectors are USDA (government employees), sam, not employed by the processor where they work.


Missing the fact that these imitation meat producers are attempting to disguise that theirs is a man-made product that doesn't exist in nature on its own. If their product is good, use its real name.


FJ, The two I have in my house are labeled "PLANT-BASED GROUND" and "BURGER MADE FROM PLANTS", and they have multiple ingredients, which are listed on the package, so not sure what you think they should be called. The reason this bill is unnecessary is that these fake meats are generally more expensive than real meat, so they want people to know that they are fake meat.


The Impossible burgers have a genetically engineered protein from soybeans, which is similar to hemoglobin, to give it that red color, but I think the others just use beet juice for color. To me Beyond Burger (with beet juice) is the best of them, but the others are very close. If they eventually become cheaper than real meat, there might be a need for a labeling bill.


It's not a good disguise if you are a literate meat eater who compares prices at all.

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