Federal Court Hears Case on Arkansas’s Food Labeling Law
A newly approved state law on food labeling received a day in federal court on Monday, October 7th. The new law, Act 501 of the 92nd General Assembly, was approved and signed into law in 2019. It directed the Arkansas Department of Agriculture to establish rules to implement a penalty structure for certain food labeling practices that were considered to be misleading to consumers. Such food products include plant based proteins marketed under certain meat names as well as plant based rice alternatives marketed by using the name and term of rice.
A lawsuit challenging the law on constitutionally granted free speech was filed in federal court this summer by Tofurkey and the ACLU. The U.S. District Judge hearing the case, Kristine Baker, didn’t issue a ruling, but agreed to continue to receive testimony. Act 501 is not currently being enforced by the Agriculture Department as they’ve decided not to implement the law for the time being.