This week was busy for KLA at the Statehouse. The House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on HB 2437, KLA’s bill to require accurate labeling of fake meat. KLA provided oral testimony in favor of the bill, highlighting the misleading nature of many fake meat labels, and provided the committee with the results of a survey indicating a high percentage of consumer confusion related to these labels. The opposition included the Good Food Institute, a trade association representing Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, and the Kansas Justice Institute. These organizations claimed the bill would violate the first amendment of the Constitution. However, the government can regulate commercial speech that is false or deceptive. The Good Food Institute also tried to claim fake meat was only being marketed to people who want to eat vegetarian, despite claims made by fake meat executives that their companies are marketing to meat eaters. The bill is scheduled to be worked by the committee early next week. KLA members are encouraged to contact representatives on the agriculture committee to voice their support for HB 2437. A list of committee members can be found here.
Also this week, two bills responding to a recent court case that struck down the ban on raw milk advertising restrictions in Kansas were introduced in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) introduced a bill that would require unpasteurized milk to be sold with a strict disclaimer warning consumers about the danger of consuming unpasteurized milk. The bill also would require advertisements for the sale of unpasteurized milk to have the same disclaimer. KLA staff worked with KDA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to develop the disclaimer language. The second bill, introduced at the request of the Kansas Dairy Association, would completely ban the sale of unpasteurized milk in Kansas. Currently, unpasteurized milk may only be sold on the farm and is prohibited for sale at retail stores.