New Arkansas Law Defines Rice, Beef, Pork, and Meat
Arkansas recently joined the states that prohibit marketing a product as “meat” if it is not derived from livestock or poultry. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed HB 1407, titled, “To Require Truth in Labeling of Agriculture Product Are Edible by Humans,” into law (Act 501) last month. Significantly, Arkansas Act 501, also bans manufacturers from marketing a product as rice if it doesn’t contain rice. “Rice” is defined as “the whole, broken, or ground kernels or by-products obtained from the species Oryza Sativa L. or Oryza glaverrima, or wild rice, which is obtained from one of the four species of grasses from the genus Zizania or Proteresia.” (For more information, see our blog on Arkansas’ resolution calling for a standard for rice.)
Readers of our blog are aware of the ongoing cell-cultured and plant-based meat labeling debate—both at the federal and the state level and the emergence of plant-based meat products. Missouri was the first state to limit the use of the term “meat” to products derived from livestock or poultry (see Mo. Rev. Stat. § 265.494(7)). Similar laws have since been passed by Wyoming (SF0068 was signed by the governor on Feb. 26, 2019) and South Dakota (SB68 was signed by the governor on March 18, 2019). Other states that are currently considering legislation that would prohibit marketing a product that is not derived from livestock or poultry as meat include Arizona, Nebraska, Tennessee, Colorado, and Virginia.
The Arkansas Truth in Labeling Law imposes a $1,000 fine for each violation. The new law will take effect 90 days after the 2019 session ends. Arkansas produces 49% of the rice supply in the U.S. and in 2018, 1.4 million acres of rice were harvested in the state (University of Arkansas Div. of Agriculture). We will continue to monitor and report on regulatory activity in this area.