Fake Meat, Real Men, Happy July 4th

Celebrate that we can live free, eat bacon and sue our neighbors.
Celebrate that we can live free, eat bacon and sue our neighbors.
(Free Images)

I love the 4th of July. The food and family time are great, and I still have all my fingers.

I also love the 4th of July because it’s an annual reminder of the sacrifices made by the founding fathers – and all our past and current service men and women – that we may live free, eat bacon, and sue our neighbors.

Veterans, please don’t take offense to that last part. I mean that as a tribute to my late father-in-law, who spent World War II in some horrific conditions in the Philippines and other Pacific hellholes. He would be the first to acknowledge he fought for the freedoms of all Americans, even those he didn’t much care for, and there were quite a few Americans who did stuff he didn’t much care for. I can still hear him now, “Those rotten bastards.”

To say that my father-in-law was opinionated would be an understatement. But, like many of the Greatest Generation, he did not talk about his time in the war. In fact, it was only after my mother-in-law died a few years ago that the family found his army footlocker, tucked far into the attic. Inside were his two Purple Hearts, which his children knew nothing about.

Given the fact my father-in-law was opinionated and given that he loved to eat meat of all kinds, I’m pretty sure I know what he would think about the new stuff we call fake meat. I’m also certain he would think the lawsuit announced by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) against Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is frivolous, while supporting their right to sue.

PBFA and Illinois-based Upton’s Naturals filed the suit against Gov. Bryant and the state’s agriculture commissioner, Andy Gipson, alleging the state’s law banning producers of plant-based foods from using terms like “vegan bacon” and “meatless steaks” violates the First Amendment.

As you might expect, the lawsuit is causing a lot of folks to exercise their First Amendment rights, including Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson, who says he looks forward to defending the state’s law in court.

“A food product made of insect-protein should not be deceptively labeled as beef,” Gipson said in a statement. “Someone looking to purchase tofu should not be tricked into buying lab grown protein. Words mean something. We look forward to defending the law to make sure Mississippi consumers have clear information on the meat and non-meat products they purchase.”

PBFA sees labeling terms differently. “In order to describe the foods in the clearest possible manner, Upton’s Naturals uses meat and meat product terms as part of the descriptions on its labels,” the suit said.

Hmmmm. While Upton’s seeks to give consumers the “clearest possible” descriptions, one might see deception in the company name – Upton’s Naturals. As in, here are the ingredients in Upton’s product they are calling “Classic Burger”: Water, vital wheat gluten, eggplant, tofu (water, soybeans, calcium sulfate), canola oil, whole wheat flour, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), nutritional yeast, sugar, apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, sea salt, natural hickory smoke concentrate, black pepper, oregano, paprika, parsley, marjoram. Contains: Wheat, Soy.

Here’s a reminder to PBFA and Upton’s that real classic burgers – the ones with one ingredient – remain one of America’s top food choices on the Fourth of July.

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