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“I Can Believe It’s Not Butter”: Northern District of California Enjoins State Enforcement Against Use of “Butter” to Describe Vegan “Butter”

miyokos vegan butter
Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay  –

A legal battle between the State of California and the manufacturer of a plant-based alternative to butter entered a new phase this week with a court injunction that allows Miyoko’s Creamery to use the words,  “butter,” “lactose-free” and “cruelty-free” to describe its product on packaging.  The California Department of Food and Agriculture, which reviews food labeling for compliance with federal law, said Miyoko’s Creamery “misbranded” product violated a statute that forbids selling a food item under the name of another food.  Petaluma-based Miyoko’s successfully argued that the Department’s claims were barred by the First Amendment because it was not plausible for consumers to be misled as to the nature of its product, since its label conspicuously coupled the word “butter” with the term “vegan,” along with other qualifications that made clear the product was not dairy-based.