Judge: Florida Can Label Skim Milk as 'Imitation Milk'

Unless there are added vitamins
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2016 5:01 PM CDT
Judge: Florida Can Label Skim Milk as 'Imitation Milk Product'
   (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Vindication for all the skim-milk haters out there: A federal judge ruled Florida is justified in labeling skim milk as "imitation milk product" if no vitamins are added to it, Consumerist reports. In 2012, the Florida Department of Agriculture told Ocheesee Creamery it had to start labeling its skim milk "Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed" because it wasn't adding vitamins to make up for the nutrients lost when the fat was skimmed off the top of the milk. The state argues skim milk has to have the same nutritional value as whole milk in order to be classified as milk, according to the AP. Ocheesee sued in 2014, accusing the government of impinging on its First Amendment rights and forcing it to mislead customers—who, owner Mary Lou Wesselhoeft says, "knew exactly what they were buying."

And while the dictionary may side with with Ocheesee on the definition of skim milk—milk with the fat skimmed off—a federal judge this week found that the state has a right to set the standard for what constitutes milk. “Consumers take for granted the nutritional value of skim milk without even knowing that the vitamins have been restored,” Consumerist quotes the judge as saying. “Most consumers buy milk for its nutritional value, and most expect skim milk to include the same vitamin content as whole milk.” Meanwhile, Ocheesee is throwing away "thousands of gallons" of skim milk, rather than labeling it "imitation milk." Skim milk accounted for about a quarter of Ocheesee's profits, and an appeal is planned. (In West Virginia, lawmakers got sick suspiciously close to the passage of a bill about raw milk.)

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