Plant-based meat substitutes or meat grown in a laboratory — think the Impossible Burger or the Beyond Burger — won’t be able to be marketed as meat under new legislation recently approved by Missouri lawmakers in a 125 to 22 vote. Representative Jeff Knight, a Republican who backed the change, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “We’re not trying to mislead anyone. We’re just trying to protect our product.”

Lightly-colored vegetable patty with grill marks on a grill

Legislation outlawing companies from calling lab-grown or plant-based meat substitutes ‘meat’ is headed to the governor’s desk in Missouri. Senate Bill 627 is a package of changes to conservation and agriculture laws, including a provision stating, “This act also prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” If the bill becomes law, Missouri will be the first state in America to address this issue.

Related: TGI Fridays to sell Beyond Meat’s plant-based burger in hundreds of stores

Mike Deering, the executive vice president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association said in a statement, “This isn’t a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day. I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn’t meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue…This legislation does not stifle technology, but it does ensure the integrity of our meat supply and reduces customer confusion.”

Representative Deb Lavender, a Democrat, said we should be embracing the future, and that many people “are eating differently than they used to.” Representative Tracy McCreery, also a Democrat, said she found the bill somewhat disrespectful to consumers, saying, “You guys are just trying to protect your marketing money.” The bill did find bipartisan support. Democratic representative Greg Razer agreed with the policy and said, “I love me a pork chop.”

Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and EcoWatch

Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)