Coming Soon: The County Curse Jar

I’ve been seeing this headline all over my social media feed: Missouri becomes first state to regulate use of the word ‘meat’:

On Tuesday, Missouri became the first state in the country to have a law on the books that prohibits food makers from using the word “meat” to refer to anything other than animal flesh.

This takes aim at manufacturers of what has been dubbed fake or nontraditional meat.

Clean meat – also known as lab-grown meat – is made of cultured animal tissue cells, while plant-based meat is generally from ingredients such as soy, tempeh and seitan.

The state law forbids “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Violators may be fined $1,000 and imprisoned for a year.

Yawn. Wake me up when the state finally gets around to fining people for using the word there or your incorrectly.

I find it hard to work up a particular outrage about this because 1) I’m mellowing as I get older, and 2) the government does a whole lot of regulating of dietary labeling already. You know, mandatory posting of calorie counts at restaurants, certifications for ORGANIC, and so on. The European Union is also very particular about foods named after locations, going so far as to sue to keep people from calling it Parmesan cheese if it’s made in the U.S..

So, yeah, no. I think mandatory labeling laws can be petty (a year in jail for making a candy called Sugar Meat? Really?), I think it’s par for the course.

I do think this particular bit is getting passed around on social media in a twee fashion, though, because some of the passers are trying to imply or reinforce that Missouri is crazy or that people who eat meat are dumb enough to think tofu is meat unless someone smarter than them points it out. A few, perhaps, agree with my perspective that such laws are petty and often giveaways to organized interest groups. But without additional commentary by the sharer, one is left to wonder which of the above points the social media sharer wants to make.

Not worth my time, aside from an excuse to generate fresh content for you, gentle reader, whom I hope to convince to “Meh” along with me.

Also, note this legislation does not affect a real travesty: Allowing Big Turkey to continue to market turkey “bacon.”