Food Labeling

Florida Creamery Fights Gov-Mandated Mislabeling of Skim Milk

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Ocheesee Creamery/Facebook

Florida-based Ocheesee Creamery is fighting a state agricultural department rule that bars the business from accurately labelling its skim milk as skim milk. Because creamery owner Mary Lou Wesselhoeft does not inject vitamin A into the milk, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Serices (DACS) says she can only label it "Non-Grade 'A' Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed". 

Ocheesee Creamery and the Institute for Justice (IJ) are challenging this labeling requirement, which certainly doesn't make for spectacular marketing. But Wesselhoeft and IJ go one step further and say that the label is actively misleading to consumers, since her skim milk is not a "milk product" but whole, natural milk with the cream skimmed off. This is, by definition, how skim milk is made.

"It is unconstitutional for government to force businesses to mislead their customers," states IJ, accusing the Florida government of claiming "the power to change the definition of ordinary words." 

Florida law requires those who sell skim milk—a process that necessarily means removing a lot of the milk's natural nutrients—to artificially boost the beverage's vitamin-A level until it matches that found in whole milk. Wesselhoeft refuses to do so, citing an anti-additive philosophy she shares with her customers. But the state says without vitamin A enhancement, she can't call the product skim milk, nor will they negotiate with her on other acceptable labeling, according to the creamery's lawsuit. 

"The government is censoring me from telling my customers what is in the milk they want to buy," said Wesslhoeft. "I have a right to label the skim milk I want to sell as exactly what it is: pasteurized skim milk."

Her case, Ocheesee Creamery v. Putnam and Newton, was filed in federal court Thursday. The case is part of IJ's National Food Freedom Initiative, a campaign consisting of "property rights, economic liberty and free speech challenges to laws that interfere with the ability of Americans to produce, market, procure and consume the foods of their choice." So far, the initiative has seen success in a challenge to Oregon's ban on raw milk advertising; a challenge to a Miami Shores, Florida, ban on front-yard vegetable gardening and Minnesota restrictions on selling homemade baked goods are ongoing. 

Wesselhoeft and her husband and creamery co-owner Paul aren't seeking monetary damages, only the right to "engage in truthful speech about its lawful skim milk." 

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  1. “the power to change the definition of ordinary words.”

    Milk equality!

  2. This labeling is bullshit, but…who the fuck in their right mind wants skim milk? Ever? For anything?!?

    1. Everyone who was brainwashed by 30 years of US government-backed “Fat is bad” nutritional misinformation?

      1. Hey, it can keep you from getting your essential dietary carbohydrates.

        Of which there are none, interestingly – although Iowa corn farmers might argue the point.

    2. People suffering from disorders of the pancreas….

      I know a couple of people.

      1. Fuck NutraSweet and all his depraved kind. Don’t tell him I said that, by the way. He’ll hit me.

        1. Like you don’t love it. Unless you forget your safe word.

          1. OMAHA! OMAHA!!! OMMMMMAAAAAHHHAAAAAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!

            1. Ruprick, do we need the genital cuff?

              1. May I go to the bathroom?

                1. …..Aaaah, thank you.

            2. Leave the cork on the fork.

              1. Why is the cork on the fork?

                1. We’ve got culture coming out our ass.

                2. The prevent him from hurting himself….and others.

    3. I only drink Malk. It’s naturally skim.

      1. Now with Vitamin R!

      2. But my bones are so brittle!

    4. The nice thing about skim milk is when you are running low you can just top off the jug at the sink.

      1. Another child of the depression!

    5. I want people to continue drinking skim milk so that they subsidize my cream consumption. You ever drink a glass of half-and-half? DELICIOUS.

      1. ‘Tis the season for egg nog breves.

      2. My wife’s gone all stupid with the skim and “organic”. So, every once in awhile, I buy myself a pint or half gallon of plain old whole milk and drink a couple glasses.

        So. Delicious. Mmmm….whatever’s left I use for a bowl of Wheaties or Cheerios. So good with whole milk.

        I don’t drink it a lot, cause I’m not a baby calf who needs to fatten up, but once in awhile….mmmmmm.

        I’ll have to try the 1/2 and 1/2 🙂

        1. There is a brand someone suggested to me that is real whole milk that is pasteurized but not homogenized. I’ll be damned if I can remember what it is now, but the local Earth Faire had it.

          1. So the point is that you can see clots of cream floating in it old style. I left that out.

            1. Cool story bro

          2. I buy that sort of thing at whole foods. It’s this:

            http://www.organicvalley.coop/…..grassmilk/

            It tastes great and has little chunks of butter floating in it if you don’t shake it up enough. The problem for me is that it’s $5 for a half gallon. But it’s awesome milk.

    6. I’d hate to meet them.

    7. Best taken from the original spigot eh?

    8. This labeling is bullshit, but…who the fuck in their right mind wants skim milk? Ever? For anything?!?

      Yeah, nothing beats a cool glass of white motor oil after a day of laboring in the heat! That mucusy throat slime really puts the sense of health and vigor into you.

      I prefer my milkfat churned and spread on toast or melted into mashed potatoes. Also, gotta get the cheese for deep-dish pizza from somewhere, the milk’s gotta get skimmed either way.

  3. Ocheesee Creamery

    I see what they did there.

  4. The “skim” in skim milk isn’t a process performed on the milk, it’s a process performed on the dairy.

  5. Nothing left to cut.

  6. BRAWNDO! It’s got electrolytes!

  7. Milk regulations: America’s First Socialized Medicine.

  8. “Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed” is the label for a reason and that reason is public fucking health, you asshole cavemen. If that label’s not on there, then human children will die from vitamin A deficiency. What the fuck is wrong with you fucking people?!

    /MPH graduate working at USDA’s FSIS

    1. Then stick a fucking carrot in it.

    2. Because, of course, the minute the labels are removed, parents become total blithering morons and their children will die horrible, painful deaths.

      1. Actually, the parents are generally blithering morons before the label is removed. The bad part is their children don’t die horrible, painful deaths. Instead, their children survive and grow up to be blithering morons and they have kids, etc. etc. until our country turns into a socialist hellhole.

        1. Actually, the parents are generally blithering morons before the label is removed.

          True. I know several families that lament having to keep skim, 2%, and whole in their fridge.

          I assume they have cans of peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, macademia nuts, *and* mixed nuts in their pantry. Right next to the microwave popcorn with and without cheese-flavoring, which is below the bags of precooked popcorn, with and without powdered cheese, which is right below the powdered cheese.

    3. LABELS ARE WHAT SEPARATE MEN FROM BEASTS! LABELS ARE THE FOUNDATION OF CIVILIZATION! FROM THE DAY THE FIRST LAND-DWELLING HALF-FISH FLOPPED ITS WAY ONSHORE, IT HAS BEEN DRIVEN BY A SINGULAR PURPOSE: TO READ LABELS AND FOLLOW THEIR COMMANDS!

      YEEEEUUUUURGH!

  9. Are you proposing that all technical food definitions be tossed out? Interesting that these issues seem to occur with the organic/natural food movement. I’d like to see the Institute for Justice stand up regarding GMO-label and the cries for banning food ingredients.

    So-called “Food Freedom” is obviously only for those selling the “right” types of foods…

  10. Just call it Skim milk -A , that’s accurate

    1. Essentially, that is the lawful label:

      “Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed”.

      The regs also allows her to make accurate claims regarding fat level and the fact that fat was removed, so I’m not sure what the fuss is about…

      1. Maybe you are right, because “whole, natural milk with the cream skimmed off” is a milk product , but the author of this article disagrees that it is a milk product .

      2. I suppose they could compromise, in an ideal world, with “Skim Milk, Vitamin A not re-added”, or “Skim Milk, Low Vitamin A”.

        On the grounds that if there’s any consumer interest in vitamin A levels, as assumed by the definitions, that’s a clear way of describing the product with that in mind, that is neither Seriously Off-putting nor purely euphemistic.

        It seems a good compromise between noting the reduced relative vitamin level and the “normal use” meaning of skim milk.

        1. (By which I mean, in parallel to the way hippies want “SCARY GMO!!!” labeling, that the longer and more complex the label, the more people will – incorrectly – assume something is “bad” or “super processed and icky”.

          “Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed” markets a lot worse than, say, “Skim Milk, Low Vitamin A”, while the latter probably reflects what most consumers would tend to want to call it more accurately, in that apart from not re-adding A, it’s exactly “skim milk”, yes?)

          1. Agreed, that this is “skim milk” sans Vit A addition (assuming the dairy is truthfully representing their product – of which I am skeptical since they have decided they can redefine milk standards). “Low” vitamin A isn’t valid.

            This regulation is actually commercially relevant because of current use as a grading and nutritional standard.

      3. “Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed” is confusing and not as easy to understand as “skim milk” to the average consumer. Plus it’s wordy and unattractive on a product. While their competitors, who add vitamin A, get the advantage of simply labeling their product “skim milk” Why you can’t understand the fuss is beyond me.

        1. Again, I submit, are you advocating elimination of all technical definitions/grading standards for food products? There IS an existing definition – either add the necessary vitamin A, petition for an exclusion, OR simply add already sanctioned language.

          What I fail to understand is ENB’s title claim regarding “Gov-mandated mislabeling” which obviously isn’t accurate and the Ocheesee/ “free speech” argument.

          I certainly don’t disagree with your comments regarding marketing, but there is a rational, technical basis for “defining” ingredients/products which the greater industry is obliged to follow. Milk/dairy standards are particularly strict, and not without warrant even in “modern” society given recent adulteration issues.

          1. What the fuss is about, is speech control. Just because some dollars are exchanged, truthful speech is prohibited, is what this boils down to. If you LIE when selling your product, Government Almighty can step in and spank your ass, I am OK with that. This was NOT the case here! Guv Almighty is obviously over-reaching in this case… They are micro-managing weasels!

          2. Late to the party, sorry.

            What you’re saying would be fine if the government-sanctioned milk had to be labeled, “Vitamin A Enriched Skim Milk”, which is not currently the case. What this dairy is selling is closer to the initial state of milk, isn’t it, since all they’ve done is skim the cream off. In any other context, the least-messed-with thing would be the standard, baseline thing.

            If anything, the regulation should be to add verbiage to regular skim milk indicating that Vitamin A (and D) was added.

            1. The term “skim milk” isn’t very meaningful at all. It’s like “brew beer” or “ferment grape”. What is that supposed to mean?

              The descriptive term would be “skimmed milk”. That’s what they should call it, possibly with a requirement of adding a warning (“contains lower vitamin A levels than skim milk”).

  11. my friend’s mother makes $64 /hr on the internet . She has been out of work for ten months but last month her income was $18244 just working on the internet for a few hours. go to website….

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

  12. Why not call it “skimmed milk”? That’s more descriptive anyway.

  13. 21 CFR 160.10 requires artificial nutrients must be added to food only when the label makes a nutrient claim (“lowfat, non-fat, or reduced fat” are specified) along with a standard term such as “milk.” I question whether a “skim milk” label makes a nutritional claim as does “non-fat milk”. The state ordered the Creamery not to make any health claims, which they haven’t. Also, the Creamery does not sell products interstate and so not governed by federal rules. Even if it were, it might be exempt because it is a small business, as in other states. The Creamery points out that it sells milk in clear glass containers and any added artificial Vitamin A would be destroyed by sunlight in a short time. Florida tests Grade A milk for bacteria but not for nutritive value or amount of additives, so all the state wants is for the Creamery to install expensive useless equipment or mislabel the milk, which they agree can be called “milk” right from the cow. However, excess Vitamin A can be toxic, and some customers have asked for pasteurized skim milk without artificial additives. They should be provided the choice by a local small business without state interference. They have tried for years to persuade the bureaucracy hence this suit (at ij.org ). The judge may rule before November 2015.

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