OCA's Michael Kelsey Says Oklahoma Is On Solid Ground Defending Lawsuit By Plant-Based Foods Supporters Against HB3806Fri, 18 Sep 2020 09:18:41 CDT
A lawsuit against the State of Oklahoma by proponents of plant-based food products has been filed in an attempt to overturn HB 3806 (Meat Consumer Protection Act), an Oklahoma law specifically defining what constitutes meat and labeling of said products.
The law was passed during the 2020 Oklahoma legislative session and goes into effect Nov. 1.
Filing the lawsuit is an Illinois corporation that sells plant-based foods and the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) located in California.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattleman's Association, a strong supporter of the Oklahoma law, regarding the lawsuit.
Kelsey provided some background on how the Oklahoma law came to fruition.
Several years ago, the OCA membership saw the challenge the dairy industry was having with other industries "pirating" the term milk, Kelsey said.
As "fake meat" alternatives came on the market we decided to get ahead of some of the challenges the dairy industry had, Kelsey said.
The bill basically said that if a product wants to pass itself as beef, pork or meat, then it must be properly labeled so consumers will know exactly what they are purchasing.
Kelsey said the bill's language clarifies that "beef" must come from cattle, that "pork" must come from a pig, and that "meat" must come from livestock.
The plant-based proponents said the bill is not fair.
This is just common sense and if the product doesn't come cattle then it should say that, Kelsey said.
The plant-based industry is not happy with having to make that clarification.
We worked hard on this language so it could withstand legal challenges, Kelsey said.
The OCA leader raised the possibility of a deeper agenda embedded in the lawsuit.
We know there are entities out there closely related to animal rights groups focused on moving meat off consumer's tables.
Oklahomans love beef and it is just common sense to say beef has to come from a cow, Kelsey said.
There are similar challenges in other states underway in various stages, but Kelsey said the State of Oklahoma has good solid ground to stand on.
The OCA leader added he is very appreciative of the supportive work from the Pork Council and all agree this is common sense approach.
It is unfortunate there are folks out there that want to pirate our good name, Kelsey said, and we are just not going to stand for that.
Click on the Listen Bar below to hear more of Ron's interview with Michael Kelsey.
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