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.