Food Labeling

Good News! A Court Has Ruled This Skim Milk Can Be Called Skim Milk!

A decision so plainly obvious must have roots in intrusive government regulations.

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milk
Ocheesee Creamery

Hooray for common sense over really stupid regulatory behavior that is clearly designed to protect entrenched government interests! Skim milk is skim milk!

This calls for a more detailed explanation, obviously. A creamery in Florida, Ocheesee Creamery, has been fighting with state regulators over its skim milk. One might assume that skim milk is simply milk with the cream removed. That's what thinking for yourself gets you. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, in order to actually call your skim milk "skim milk" in the marketplace you are required to add vitamin A to replace what has been removed from the process.

Ocheesee doesn't want to add vitamin A (or anything else) to its skim milk and has been fighting state regulators. The state wanted Ocheesee to label its milk "imitation skim milk," which is absurdly not true. It is actual skim milk but without added vitamin A. It even offered to label the lack of vitamin A, but it wasn't enough for regulators.

Baylen Linnekin, who writes about food law and food policy issues weekly for Reason, had been covering the case and was even retained as an expert to explain in a report that consumers would not be misled by the fact that Ocheesee's pasteurized skim milk was still pasteurized skim milk regardless of whether vitamin A had been added.

Linnekin also noted that the larger dairy industry was more than happy to side with regulators given the opportunity to keep potential competitors with different kinds of choices out of the marketplace. Note how dairy interests are trying to also convince the feds to prohibit products like soy milk or almond milk from calling themselves "milk," though there's no real consumer confusion here that necessitates government intervention.

A federal judge initially sided with the Florida regulators against Ocheesee, but this week a panel of federal judges reversed the decision on appeal, ruling "The State was unable to show that forbidding the Creamery from using the term 'skim milk' was reasonable" and that Ocheesee was not misleading consumers.

It's also yet another win for the freedom-protecting lawyers of the Institute for Justice, who were representing the creamery in court. Read more about the case here.

NEXT: The Age of Frank Gaffney

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  1. Skim milk is skim milk!

    Wrong. Skim milk is water… that’s lying about being milk.

    1. Wasn’t ‘Skim Milk’ your nickname in college?

      1. I was known as Two Percent for a while. I am absolutely not joking about this, either.

        1. Absolutely Not Joking was my nickname in college.

          1. Nickname was my nickname in college

            1. This is the greatest meme since Top Hat & Monocle!

  2. It’s also yet another win for the freedom-protecting lawyers of the Institute for Justice, who were representing the creamery in court. Read more about the case here.

    A better win would have been to have the regulatory agency driven before us, their offices burned and their authority stripped.

  3. though there’s no real consumer confusion here that necessitates government intervention.

    Let’s not overestimate anyone’s intelligence just yet.

  4. Why can’t regulators let him call it “Skim milk without added Vitamin Fuck You Regulators?”

  5. Baylen Linnekin, who writes about food law and food policy issues weekly for Reason, had been covering the case and was even retained as an expert to explain in a report that consumers would not be misled by the fact that Ocheesee’s pasteurized skim milk was still pasteurized skim milk regardless of whether vitamin A had been added.

    Linnekin also noted that the larger dairy industry was more than happy to side with regulators given the opportunity to keep potential competitors with different kinds of choices out of the marketplace. Note how dairy interests are trying to also convince the feds to prohibit products like soy milk or almond milk from calling themselves “milk,” though there’s no real consumer confusion here that necessitates government intervention.

    A creamery in Florida

    Floor Uh Duh. I’ve seen people in Florida outwitted by smells. Don’t tell me there’s no confusion there.

  6. Why can’t they just let him call it “Skim Milk With Vitamin Fuck You, Regulators?”

    1. In fact, the creamery suggested some compromises with Florida, all of which Florida rejected (they’re listed in the ruling):
      ‘(1) “PASTEURIZED SKIM MILK, NO VITAMIN A ADDED;”
      (2) “PASTEURIZED SKIM MILK, NO LOST VITAMIN A REPLACED;”
      (3) “PASTEURIZED SKIM MILK, MOST VITAMIN A REMOVED BY SKIMMING CREAM FROM MILK;”
      (4) “NON-GRADE ‘A’ SKIM MILK, SOME MILK VITAMINS REDUCED BY SKIMMING CREAM FROM ALL-NATURAL PASTEURIZED MILK;” and
      (5) “THE STATE REQUIRES US TO CALL THIS: ‘NON-GRADE “A” MILK PRODUCT, NATURAL MILK VITAMINS REMOVED.’ IT IS ALL-NATURAL SKIM MILK WITH SOME VITAMIN A REMOVED BY SKIMMING CREAM FROM MILK.”

    2. They tried to call it, among other things, “The state requires us to call this: ‘non-grade “A” milk product, natural milk vitamins removed.’ It is all-natural skim milk with some Vitamin A removed by skimming cream from milk.” Florida didn’t go for that one.

      Everyone in the case agrees that Florida could ban non-fortified skim milk. They don’t, but they insist on making the creamery call it “Milk product.” There’s also a nice bit in the ruling about how the government doesn’t control the definitions of words.

  7. So sayeth the court, so sayeth we all!

    But seriously, we should just call “skim” milk what it really is: “Not” milk.

    1. “Milk with the yum scraped off”

      1. Even oreos can’t fix it.

  8. I hesitate to even think where the comments will go if we end up with a case about government regulators attempting to control what may or may not be called “deep dish pizza.”

    1. All the people who care about that have scampered off to another place.

      Plus, we still have John to turn a conversation about anything into a shitshow.

      1. Plus? Or Besides? Hell, I don’t know.

      2. I think John broke his brain again.

    2. Hopefully it will be treated like gay marriage. A new category of deep dish will be licensed and recognized by the state after a long drawn out legal and cultural fight.

      1. “Deep Dish-Style Italian Casserole Substrate”

  9. A great opportunity was missed. There should have been an additional paragraph requiring “milk” to be truthfully labeled as “processed cow’s milk with additional manufactured ingredients” (I am assuming the added vitamins are manufactured)
    See how that affects sales.
    Not to mention clearly labeling the “milk” as a racist symbol.

  10. And don’t call it tea if it doesn’t contain tea. And get off my lawn.

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