in Arkansas will no longer be able to market their cauliflower-based rice
substitute as “cauliflower rice” due to the state’s new “truth in labeling” law.
Act 501 makes Arkansas one of just a handful of states (including Missouri, North
Dakota, and South Dakota) to ban marketing food substitutes as the food they
are intended to replace, and it is the only state to include protection for
rice. Similar laws in other states have banned calling a product “meat” if it
is not derived from livestock or poultry and “milk” if it is not dairy.
legislation appears to be a win for Arkansas’ agriculture industry, which makes
up about 13% of state GDP. Moreover, as the nation’s largest rice producer, the
bill’s specific protection of rice products is sure to be received well by the almost
100,000 family owned farms statewide.
2018, Missouri became the first state to pass a similar statute. By October of
the same year, however, a temporary injunction had been placed against the
statute pending the outcome of a federal law suit filed by The Animal Defense
Fund in coalition with Tofurky, the Good Food Institute, and the ACLU of
Missouri. The coalition asserts that the statute violates the First Amendment’s
Free Speech Clause. Missouri Attorney General at the time, Josh Hawley,
intended to defend the law.
further notice from the Western District Court of Missouri, cauliflower rice retailers
in Arkansas will need to label their products as “riced cauliflower” – a more
acceptable description according to the new statute.
It remains to be seen, however, what effects these regulations will have on food substitute producers in the state (in other states and for international manufacturers).
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