Today, animal-rights organization Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of vegan brand Miyoko’s Creamery against the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The lawsuit was sparked by CDFA’s demand that Miyoko’s remove certain terms such as “dairy” and “butter” from its packaging, despite the company’s clear labeling of the products as “vegan” and “made with plants.” CDFA also demanded that Miyoko’s cease using the term “cruelty-free” to describe its vegan butter and instructed the brand to remove an image of a woman hugging a cow from its website. In its lawsuit, ALDF explains that the CDFA is misapplying federal regulations and violating Miyoko’s constitutional right to free speech. “The government has no business censoring humane companies from accurately describing their animal-friendly products,” ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells said. “The California Department of Food and Agriculture should be at the forefront of efforts to shift away from destructive factory farming, not acting to stifle its competitors.” Last year, a third-party life-cycle analysis report found that Miyoko’s produces 20 times less greenhouse gas emissions from its products than those from dairy cheese, a benefit in reducing California’s carbon footprint. This year, Miyoko’s will be expanding its product line to include allergen-friendly nut-free cheeses made from a combination of potatoes, beans, and seeds, in addition to oat-based products. The company is also seeking to partner with a California dairy farm to transition its business, to mutual benefit, to a research and development facility for Miyoko’s vegan products.

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