On March 9, 2024, the state of West Virginia’s House of Delegates passed a bill known as the Truth in Food Labeling Act (House Bill 5349), restricting the language that can be used on the labels of cell-based meats, plant-based protein, and other “analogue products,” with a vote of 86 to 11. The bill, which goes into effect 90 days from its passage, is awaiting the signature of Governor Jim Justice.

The bill amends the Code of West Virginia to redefine “misbranded” food labeling, expanding the scope of misbranding to include:

  • If the food is offered for sale under the name of another food
  • If the food is an imitation of another food, unless its label bears, in prominent type of uniform size, the word "imitation" and immediately thereafter the name of the food imitated
  • If the food is an analogue product of meat, a meat food product, poultry, a poultry product, an egg product, or fish, unless its label bears in prominent type of uniform size immediately before the name of the product one of the following: “analogue,” “meatless,” “plant-based,” “made from plants,” or a similar qualifying term or disclaimer intended to clearly communicate to a consumer the contents of the product.

If the restrictions and requirements laid out in the Truth in Food Labeling Act are breached, noncompliant products will be deemed “misbranded.”

The bill names “analogues” and “cell-cultured products” as its targets, defining “analogue product” as “a food product derived by combining processed plant products, insects, or fungus with food additives to approximate the texture, flavor, appearance, or other aesthetic qualities or the chemical characteristics of any specific type of egg, egg product, fish, meat, meat food product, poultry, or poultry product.” The bill defines "cell-cultured product" as “food product derived by harvesting animal cells and artificially replicating those cells in a growth medium in a laboratory to produce tissue.”