Food And Beverage News And Trends - 7 February 2020

Author:Ms Stefanie Jill Fogel, Angela C. Agrusa and Maggie Craig
Profession:DLA Piper

This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape.

Burger King says it never advertised the Impossible Whopper as vegan. On January 30, Burger King said in a court filing that it never advertised its Impossible Whoppers as vegan or promised to cook them without meat residues. It asked a court to throw out a proposed class action filed by a vegan customer concerning the plant-based patties. It said that plaintiff Phillip Williams should have asked how the burgers were cooked before ordering one at an Atlanta Burger King restaurant. Williams had asserted in his lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida last year, that he and other consumers were duped into believing that the burgers contained no meat residue whatsoever. Burger King says that customers who want to avoid eating meat entirely can request that their burgers be prepared in an oven instead of the regular broiler and that its website explains clearly how the Impossible Burger is ordinarily prepared. Plant-based food companies organize to protect their interests in California. In late January, California became the first state to have a state-based political lobbying group to protect the legal rights of makers of plant-based meat substitutes. The California Plant Based Alliance was formed in Sacramento to help plant-based companies fend off government regulations that can be harmful to their growth. The group was founded by Judie Mancuso, who is well known for lobbying to make California the first state to ban cosmetic testing on animals. She was then involved with the organization Social Compassion in Legislation. California has the fifth-largest economy in the world. A major lobbying group, the Plant Based Food Association, already serves plant-based companies on the national level. Virginia takes steps to legally define the term "milk" for food labeling. On January 22, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would define the term "milk" within the state as the product of a cow or another hoofed mammal. The only exception would be human breast milk. Like many other similar bills in state legislatures, the bill is intended to bar the sellers of products like soy milk and almond milk from calling their products "milk." Even if Virginia enacts the bill into law, it would take effect only if it is also passed in 11 states in the Southern Dairy...

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