Government doesn’t need to protect us from “fake meat”

By Aaron Rice
October 2, 2019

It is not the responsibility of the government to protect you from yourself. We as citizens have given government too much authority, and that isn’t a good thing. 

Just look at the new meat-labeling regulations for unsuspecting consumers.  

One of the two comments the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce received concerning the regulations was from a rancher in Starkville. They are worried people would be unable to read the labels of meatless products because they are too close to traditional meat products.

“Kroger has marketed and is labeling the product in a way that a consumer could be in a hurry, and grab that product since it is available in the meat department, where in fact, it is not real meat. They even went so far as to place (it) next to the other ground beef and prepattied hamburger products,” the comment noted. 

It would take that busy person all of ten seconds to read the label. 

Government is not here to read for you, and we shouldn’t expect it to. It is unfortunate than any citizen thinks this is the job of government. 

While MDAC might be on the hunt for fake meat, the debate over the term “fake meat” and plant-based alternatives misses a crucial point. Plant-based companies want you to know what they are selling is not actually meat. Their consumers are specifically looking for this product and they generally pay more for it. 

There is not some conspiracy at play here. This would actually be a terrible conspiracy, if that’s what marketers were trying to pull off. 

Rather, consumer habits are shifting. If consumers were not interested in plant-based alternatives, these options would not be on our shelves. Because private companies – whether it’s Kroger, Walmart, Whole Foods, or any other grocery store – need to do one thing above all to stay in business: sell products that consumers want, at a profit. 

If there wasn’t interest, a Whole Foods would not have opened in Jackson. Plant-based options would not be available at Kroger. Subway would not have chosen Mississippi as one of a handful of states for a vegan meatball test. Burger King would not have launched the Impossible Burger.

This debate might be over veggie burgers, but this is just one example of the government in Mississippi trying to make decisions for individuals. And at the end of the day, it will just be one of 117,000 regulations on the books in Mississippi. Can’t we just try to be more free and let the voluntary exchange between consumers and producers happen without the government trying to intervene?

This is symbolic of a larger problem we have here in the Magnolia State. We don’t trust the free market and consumer choice. The sooner we do, the better off we’ll all be.


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