Amid growing debate over food identity standards, Missouri has become the first state to directly regulate whether meat substitutes can be labeled as “meat.” In August, Missouri passed Mo. Rev. Stat. § 265.494(7), which makes it a crime to misrepresent a product as meat that is not derived from livestock or poultry. Violators can be imprisoned for up to one year and fined up to $1,000.

The law targets two types of products: plant-based meat and cell-cultured meat (CCM). Plant-based meat is made from ingredients like soy, tempeh, and jackfruit. As we previously explained, CCM is grown in a lab by replicating animal cells. As the CCM industry is just emerging, the law most immediately affects sellers of plant-based products. But the law shows that the Missouri legislature may have anticipated labeling issues in connection with CCM and wished to take action in advance of the forthcoming changes