'An Almond Doesn't Lactate'

The coming war over nut milks


The increasing availability of plant-based alternatives to products that were traditionally derived from animals has been a blessing for vegans, vegetarians, and others who—for reasons biological or ideological—simply don't enjoy animal-based fare. If milk makes you gassy, you can buy a white, milk-like substance made from almonds, cashews, or coconuts. If you love the texture of beef but not the idea of eating something that once had a face, you can get patties with a meaty texture that bleed beet juice.

Although most of these products borrow terminology from the animal realm, American consumers don't seem particularly confused about what makes them different. The ingredients in almond, soy, and coconut "milks," for instance, are prominently featured on the packaging. Nearly all of these products are explicitly marketed as "nondairy," and the lighting in most grocery stores is adequate for distinguishing between the item types.

And yet in July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a rule that would prohibit the use of the word milk on a label unless the product inside was a "lacteal secretion…obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows." (And we wonder why some people prefer milk made from nuts.)

"An almond doesn't lactate," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said at the time. He's joined in his meddling by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D–Wis.), who has introduced legislation to federally outlaw the labeling of nondairy products as any kind of milk.

In August, Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) sought to put a stop to this pedantic (and—in Baldwin's case—protectionist) madness by introducing an amendment that would update the 1938 "standard of identity" law, which empowers the FDA to decide who gets to call what, well, what.

"No one buys almond milk under the false illusion that it came from a cow," Lee said in explanation. "They buy almond milk because it didn't come from a cow."

This seems pretty obvious. There is no problem here that needs fixing. The FDA and Congress may feel pressure from animal producers, but that's what rent seekers do—pressure the government to entrench and increase their market share.

Consumers are not endangered by this shared language any more than they are by the fact that tuna and cat food are both sold in similarly shaped cans and picture fish on the label. While it's true Americans are drinking less milk, the reason is that we want to, not that we're illiterate.

NEXT: Brickbat: Encroachment

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You would think that nobody is so stupid as to believe that almond milk is really milk. Then again you would also think nobody is so stupid as to be a Democrat. But apparently some Democrats were fooled into believing almond milk is really milk.

    1. No. The democrats are not fooled into believing almond milk is really milk. The democrats wee another opportunity to chip away at freedom, and are all over it.
      Look up the Florida case where the government told a dairy they could not label natural skim milk as skim milk unless they added chemicals.

      1. Is this really a partisan thing? I’d say that no one really gives a fuck how non-dairy “milks” are labeled except for the dairy industry, FDA regulators and pedantic assholes.

        1. As long as they label it as non-dairy, and ID what it came from, it is really hard to think anyone cares that it has the word “milk” in it.

      2. It’s not just Democrats, plenty of Republicans went along. Mike Lee’s amendment was voted down in the Senate 84-14.

    2. When did Scott Gottlieb change parties?

      1. He’s joined in his meddling by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D?Wis.)

    3. When did Scott Gottlieb change parties?

    4. I think that Philip’s Milk of Magnesia should sue the FDA. They were first to copyright the word “milk”.

      1. Magnesium doesn’t lactate either.

        1. must be them silicone titties!

    5. That’s right. It’s a form of protectionism, and Republicans would stand for that.

  2. Sadly, I have to side with the big ‘G’ on this one. A lie, is a lie. Almond milk, isn’t milk. If companies aren’t forced to call a spade a spade, they won’t.

    1. Racist.

      1. I’d go with moron, but that’s a personal preference

    2. Milk of magnesia.
      The word ‘milk’ has a very long history of use for extractions of various sorts, usually characterized by color and opacity.
      The long-established linguistic form is reasonable and proper. Not all milk comes from mammals.

      1. Yeah, well the Commerce Clause gives the government the authority to define what words mean if those words are used to describe things that are bought and sold. There truly is nothing that the Commerce Clause can’t do.

      2. Quit lying, it’s almond oil.

        1. Coconut milk is another. So is goat’s milk, which under this definition is banned. As is Buffalo milk. As is prostate milking.

          1. I love to make curry at home, so I use a lot of coconut milk. I wonder what they will call it after milk is defined as secretions from the modified, enlarged, sweat glands of a cow. (milk is really gross when you think about it)

            1. Not a sweat gland…

              1. Yes, a hormonally modified sweat gland.

          2. who knew you could milk a city…or maybe just it’s taxpayers

        2. I see a reckoning for Baby Oil in the near future…

          1. It’s not made from real babies?

      3. Dammit! I thought of it later than you, before reading the comments.

      4. I agree with this.

        Also, see “milking” venom from a snake…

        Coconut “milk” has been that for far longer than it’s been on a store shelf.

        Milkweed is another.

    3. Almond milk, isn’t milk.

      That’s why it’s labelled “almond milk” and not “milk”. I think people can understand the distinction pretty easily. And things that somewhat resemble milk have commonly been called “milk” for ages.

      I think the case can be made that some less than strictly accurate food labeling can be considered fraud. But here there is really no attempt at deception or cause for confusion about what you are really buying. It’s not as if it says “MILK” in big letters on the package and only tells you that it’s not really milk in tiny type on the back of the package.

      1. ^^ this

        They’re already forbidden from labeling it “milk” anyways. “milk” without any modifiers is strictly regulated by definition. That’s why Skim Milk has the modifier “skim”. Same with chocolate, 1%, 2% etc.

        There’s no need to expand this, no one is confused, and no fraud is going on

        1. Your comment is so much more succinct than mine.

        2. …and how much has it cost up to this point to have this level of regulation & definition (not to mention counter argument) foist upon an unsuspecting public? asking for a friend.

      2. I don’t ever recall seeing the word milk on the cartons except in such context as “alternative to”, but even that might be challenged based on different nutritional values. I could be wrong. I’m not really paying that much attention to all of the things in the supermarket or other people’s refrigerators.

        I don’t think it’s a “lie” anyway. Milks are a fatty, protein-rich emulsion, so going by that definition perhaps one could label it as such? The lying straw man is out to trick you into buying emulsified nuts!

        Basically the dairy industry is making a fuss over labelling and folks easily take sides, like, “those evil straw men are trying to replace my dairy with nuts and take away my food freedom,” etc? It seems moot because anything with nuts is very clearly labelled so it can be avoided by people who are deathly allergic to nuts.

        In my experience it’s only colloquially referred to as “almond milk” because “almond alternative to dairy milk” is kind of a mouthful, and not because of any conspiracy to oust dairy from the shelves with nuts.

        I like the roasted “almond milk” in coffee because I’m a “cosmo fag” and if it’s available I’m all about it. It’s a choice provided by the wonders of capitalism and I take full advantage of it. Woohoo!

        1. Basically the dairy industry is making a fuss over labelling and folks easily take sides

          Well – maybe so-called ‘libertarians’ should be focusing on eliminating the damn subsidies that the dairy industry gets. Rather than siding with a different industry that wants to pretend words are all pomo anyway and nothing means everything and anything.

          1. Well – maybe so-called ‘libertarians’ should be focusing on eliminating the damn subsidies that the dairy industry gets.

            I actually considered bringing this up but it seemed like a big, tangential can of worms, and I was afraid that I might find some of my fellow “libertarian” types actually defending govt subsidies as long as those subsidies are subsidizing something said “libertarian” types enjoy and have become accustomed to being able to purchase at an artificially low price point.

      3. Hell – the first INGREDIENT is called almondmilk (without a space in the word). Which is then defined inside parentheses as (filtered water, almonds). The only other ingredient in any of them that is ‘food’ is sugar.

        Likewise the main ingredient for Soy Milk is – soymilk (filtered water, soy). For Cashew Milk – cashewmilk (filtered water, cashews). For Coconut Milk is – coconutmilk (filtered water, coconut cream)

        What those producers would love to do is get rid of those parentheses altogether so that anythingmilk BECOMES an ingredient and no one knows shit about what is actually the ingredients. And the only way to do that is to let milk mean anything and everything

    4. I would agree. I think one of the few legitimate uses of government power is the definition of market standards and enforcing truth in labeling. People know that “Almond Milk” isn’t actual milk, but there are absolutely some almond milks out there that are obviously trying to confuse buyers as to what they are made of. Sometimes the definitions are written in a corrupt way to allow established players to control the market (see: the margarine wars) but for the most part it’s about making sure people are not genuinely confused about what they are buying.

      Markets only work when there is a level of trust that people get what they are paying for.

      1. “there are absolutely some almond milks out there that are obviously trying to confuse buyers as to what they are made of.” Have you got a picture of the packaging or the brand name? I’ve never seen a package of non-diary “milk” that confused me.

        If the government was actually concerned about confusing packaging, they could require that “almond” and other qualifiers were with “milk” in the same or larger font and the same color. But instead they want to restrict all use of “milk” to only cow milk – not even goat milk can use that word. This won’t avoid confusion, but cause it. It’s rent-seeking by corporate dairy farms, enabled by power-mad bureaucrats.

    5. Big Tea needs to crack down on herbal drinks labeled as tea.

    6. Yep, and coconut milk? That’s been called that since before them there ebul kkkorporations.

      But not, let’s use violence and the threat of violence to police the language, especially in a situtation where, literally, no on is confused by the use of the term. Because its always had a secondary meaning of ‘whitish fluid that looks like milk’.

      1. Coconut milk?

        That did not even exist in the US outside canned until maybe a decade or so ago. And the English translation on those cans is not a literal translation of the Asian terms. It is a purely corporate creation.

        eg in Thai – the word for what we call ‘coconut milk’ (in those cans) is ???? (pronounced kathi) which is the same root as the word in Tagalog and some other Asian languages. A UNIQUE word derived from coconut – and also different from any concoction made from rice or manioc. The word for ‘milk’ (from an animal) is ?? (pronounced nm) which is different in all Asian/Polynesian languages – and always different from the coconut-derived or any plant-derived.

        Because its always had a secondary meaning of ‘whitish fluid that looks like milk’.

        That’s fine – except when it is being sold in the store intended to be ingested. Or are you saying that simply adding titanium dioxide to any fluid in order to turn it white is a perfectly reasonable/understandable basis for calling anything ‘milk’. Hell – those other pigment-based whitish fluids also offer many benefits to the consumer beyond cow milk. eg – you can paint your house or whitewash your fence or apply it as sunscreen as well as drink it – with no lactose intolerance either. Ultra low in fat and carbs and proteins too.

        1. That did not even exist in the US outside canned until maybe a decade or so ago.

          So you’re saying that there were no coconuts available in the US until a decade ago? WTF? I mean, cocnuts – actual coconuts – have been available in the US for my whole life. And, canned or not – what we in *English* call it is ‘coconut milk’. I don’t care that the Thai’s have a unique word for it. Yes, we could have come up with a unique word for it, but we didn’t. We called it ‘coconut milk’.

          As for your whole ‘titanium dioxide’ thing – are you seriously worried that absent men with guns enforcing this definition that someone is going to do this? And do you know the difference between ‘things that might be called ‘milky” and ‘things that might be called milky that you can eat’?

          1. are you seriously worried that absent men with guns enforcing this definition that someone is going to do this?

            you mean – do I think that companies will sell raspberry-flavored antifreeze with a bit of sulfa – and call it an elixir – and not give a shit that people die? Or that they will put opium/gin in cough syrup marketed for kids and not tell anyone? Or arsenic as ‘secret’ ingredients?

            Yes. Because those are the actual reasons why the FDA was created and expanded. Because companies DID do that. And absent ‘men with guns’ or ‘customers with the ability to sue for fraud because words mean something’, they will do it again. In large part because ‘globalization’ eliminates the ability for a consumer to seek alternative remedies (like say a shotgun in the face) from a fraudulent asshole producer.

            1. You have right to you own opinions, but not to your own facts. S. E. Massengill’s safety testing for their sulfa-drug solution was sadly deficient, but they definitely did care that people died. When the reports of fatalities started coming in, they began recalling the drug immediately, then asked for help from the FDA in spreading the word more quickly.

              And those other things you cited weren’t from the 1930’s, but from decades earlier. The FDA stopped that crap without becoming a gigantic agency with a stranglehold on all new medical developments.

        2. “outside canned”… so you concede that the term has actually existed for a long time (two minutes of searching and I found a US government reference from 1955).

          1. I found references in an 1891 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, and multiple American cookbooks dating back as far as 1855. Of course, back that far the spelling “cocoanut milk” was common.

    7. While I have failed to find an authoritative source for the first use of the term ‘Almond Milk’ the substance dates back at least to Medieval times. It seems likely that it has been called ‘Almond Milk’ for longer than our national has existed. Trying to change what it is called at this late date is absurd.

    8. Milk, butter and cheese have been used for plant-based products since long before the FDA existed. They didn’t care though because there wasn’t enough money at stake.

  3. Nut milk good; nut punch bad!

  4. Couldn’t they get around that stupid rule by saying (whatever)-milk is a brand name?

    You know they’ll be coming after “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” next if this passes.

    1. I buy ” I Can’t Believe it’s Not “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter””

      1. I love butter. After watching the “science” of this debate for several decades, I chose the one that tastes best. The difference must be incognifiscant. .

        1. Those non-butter or butter-based spreads all seem to have so much water content which makes them not very good for cooking with. It’s kind of a scam because they’re healthier only by displacing fat with water, but you buy them because you want fat, basically.

        2. Any margarine that stays solid at room temperature and actually tastes like butter is a transfat. Stick to butter, it’s not as unhealthy. Or sprinkle on some olive oil instead of imitation butter.

  5. So they say milk can only be derived from lactating cows? Gee, how about the goat’s milk that most grocery stores carry right near the regular stuff?

    And as for politicians getting involved in this, I’m reminded of how Nancy Pelosi said there’s nothing left to cut. Oh, there is plenty left to cut, Nancy. You have no inkling of the kind of cuts that could be made.

    1. “lacteal secretion?obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.”

      What if there is a drop of milk that isn’t removed, or if the cow has a 4- chamber stomach ache? Got milk?

    2. “lacteal secretion?obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.”

      What if there is a drop of milk that isn’t removed, or if the cow has a 4- chamber stomach ache? Got milk?

      1. lacteal secretion?obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy . . . simple, milk those Almond breasts.

    3. does that include her throat?

  6. Can I call the milk from my cow named ‘almond’, almond milk?

    1. Just be careful of what happens with the cream from the cow named Margarine.

      1. Or Dairy Queen, though I prefer BBQ pork.

  7. Per the article, the only foods that the FDA would allow to bear a label including the word “milk” are those consisting of “lacteal secretion?obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.” Unless the proposed rule defines “cow” in some way that includes more than just Bos taurus, it seems that this would exclude the milk of many creatures that lactate, including goats and sheep. For that matter, do we need to find another phrase by which to call the output of human mammaries?

    1. What about rats?

      1. You had to go there.

      2. I’d have some.
        In reality it’d probably be quite expensive though.

      3. Oh, rats!!!

        I’d much rather get my milk from something like this… I would even be so glad to get my milk from here, I’d do the milking myself, by hand!

        ? ?

        But she’s not literally a cow, so it can’t be milk! Let’s just call it “mulk” and also nut “mulk” from nuts, and be done with it!

        1. PS, please be sure to scroll down just a tiny bit if you hit the link…

      4. Think smaller, more legs.

    2. For that matter, do we need to find another phrase by which to call the output of human mammaries?

      Nope. “Titty Squeezins” is all we need.

      1. “Naturally sourced formula”?

  8. This is EU level stupid. Please, don’t be like the EU.

    1. No, “EU level stupid” must also contain tautologies, like “milk is a liquid that tastes like milk”.

      1. EU: You can only call it parmesan milk if it comes from the Parma region of Italy.

        1. Written contracts (regarding delivery of milk) must be made in writing (Article 148).

    2. (the infamous “honey directive” seems to be fixed though)

  9. As somebody with a little experience in grocery shopping, I know the difference between chocolate chip and chocolaty chip, cheese flavored and cheezy flavored, fruit bits and frooty bits, onions and funyuns, etc. and this flap over trademarking the word “milk” doesn’t even rise to this level of false, misleading, deceptive, or confusing. These are “misleading terms” only if you’re the sort of idiot that once poured a bottle of milk of magnesia on your Cheerios, thinks dog food is made from dogs, or buys organic bleach. “Milk” is not just something that comes from a cow, all mammals produce milk and, by association, any number of plant secretions are referred to as “milk”. Take the milkweed plant, for example – there’s a reason it was given that name. And that’s not even bringing up the milk of human kindness.

    1. I’ve always wanted to taste platypus milk.

    2. “…cheese flavored and cheezy flavored…”

      Am I detecting any kind of a snide undertone of criticism of fakes cheeses?

      Do I have to remind you, some great famous person way back when said “Blessed are the cheese fakers”!!!

      1. Its not meant to be taken literally, it refers to fakers of all sorts of dairy products – like almond milk.

  10. No one is going to bring up the Chinese honey incident? We can’t set standards on what words are? Are we only allowed to do that in written legal contracts now?

    1. Standards are OK (whether or not a government agency is needed is another question). But if there is no real chance of confusion or deception, I say back off. When someone tries to pass almond milk off as cow’s milk, maybe it will matter.

      1. They already are trying to confuse or deceive (or save on the marketing costs required to educate consumers that product A is a substitute for product B).

        Milk is what momma animals produce in order to feed their young. With that is the idea that that food is also relatively balanced re the macro-nutrients that the young need. A one-source food. That is precisely what the ‘bogus’ milk producers are trying to substitute for – because they don’t want to be competing with the soda aisle.

        There’s a ton of reasons why humans prob shouldn’t be depending on cows to manufacture food for their no-longer-young-anymore – and why the no-longer-young-anymore shouldn’t be pretending that they need one-source foods anymore. Nevertheless – milk is still milk.

        1. All you need to do is taste one of these fake milk products once to know that they are not a substitute for cow’s milk.

    2. OK then your Chinese “honey”, here ya go……..3daf2e4f09

      Also…..aundering/ ” Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves ”

      I recall some years ago there was pants-shitting where I live over these trace tiny amount of illegal antibiotics in Chinese honey. The importation police grabbed like 50 or 500 tons of it, and PAID A LANDFILL to bury it! The local bees swarmed the dump to get and recycle the honey, so they had to take extra precaution to prevent that, doubtlessly killing many bees!

      I wrote a letter to the editor of the local rag, saying the bees are smarter than we are; at least THEY believe in recycling! If you are going to be ultra-paranoid about a few molecules of antibiotics, and you can’t even feed the “tainted” honey to pigs, then run it through the local alcohol-for-auto-fuel mills (brewer-distillery); your CAR isn’t gonna keel over dead from a few molecules of antibiotics!

      But NOOOO, Government Almighty LOVES, instead, to impress us all, strike fear into our hearts, with its awesome powers to waste and destroy, is what is really going on!!!

      1. So you’re cool with lead laced honey… for reasons? Fuck off. The government being able to regulate something like that is perfectly within their powers. Especially if it’s from a foreign entity.

        1. RTFP (Read the Fucking Post). Antibiotics, not lead! And it is NOT the regulation that I am taking issue with, it is the WASTE! They used MY tax money to pay to BURY the stuff, where-as they could have used the honey (gotten money back for it, if the Chinese are not willing to pay for shipping it back to China) by using it for feed-stock for making alcohol to add to car fuel. Are you afraid of tainted gasoline, at the parts per million or billion level, of antibiotics that sneak through to the gasoline, hurting your car? Also, the combustion heat of your engine will burn the antibiotics; you’re not going to get the antibiotics unless you drink the gasoline!

          We are clearly into the irrational hatred of all things Chinese here, even if OUR Government Almighty has to WASTE our money, to impress us all with its powers to keep us free of Chinese cooties and Chinese bogey-molecules!

          1. I did read the article. Go read SOME OTHER FUCKING ARTICLES. They found traces of heavy metals, INCLUDING lead in Chinese honey. It was just about anti-biotics. Then come back here and apologize for being an asshat.

              1. The article I read in the local rag made no mention of lead in this case. Lead has been deliberately added to gas as an anti-knock ingredient for many-many years here in the USA, at much higher levels than we’d be dealing with here anyway… We finally figured out that these much higher levels of lead in gas, was generally bad for us, so we stopped. If one or two atoms of lead per ton of gasoline is now such a horrible-terrible thing… Do these lead atoms maybe have evil Chinese slanted eyes, or some such? … Then why are we dumping the honey in a landfill instead of boosting it into an orbit for consumption by the sun, or some such? Because even the waste-lands of Nevada aren’t bad enough for our nuclear wastes; we store them instead at 100 or more local atomic power plants!

                It is entirely too reminiscent of…..ff#comment where we learn that 35,000 cups of coffee per day may give us cancer! I guess that the coffee isn’t evil Chinese coffee, so it’s OK…

            1. They find traces of lead in all honey – any hive that’s within sight of a road is going to have traces of heavy metals in it.

              Its not what you can detect, its how much – and those stories never give you any context.

    3. I agree with you. It is reasonable to assume that words have meaning. There is a traditional word for ground up and liquefied nuts/grains. It’s called horchata (with different spellings – deriving originally from barley or ordi) – or water (re the solvent that carries the starches). Those producers want to attach themselves to a more valuable word to save on marketing costs. Just like every producer of roe would like to do with caviar – or syrup producer with honey.

      Hell – why should govt even get involved in what a pound or an ounce means? Leave it up to the market. Fraud is not actually a thang at all – and it sure can’t be one legally if words mean nothing and everything.

      1. Call it “almond mulk” and be done with it then!

        1. Call it horchata. That is already a word that has basic familiarity – and is both more upscale than water and thus useful for those who want to sell it in the refrigerated dairy section. Horchata already has long-time use of the adjectives describing the particular grains used. It could very easily spawn an entrepreneurial industry of street-side beverage sellers buying product at the wholesale level – which would do a better job of educating consumers.

          And maybe they can be the FIRST industry that actually ACTS libertarian and advocates simply getting rid of those govt subsidies for ‘milk producers’ instead of attaching themselves to a word so they can get their own subsidies in future.

      2. It’s a pretty simple concept. I can’t believe how many people on here are just ‘ok’ with companies lying.

      3. 1. Horchata (/??r?t???t?/; Spanish: [o??t?ata] (About this sound listen)), or orxata (Valencian: [o???ata]), is a name given to various plant milk beverages of similar taste and appearance.

        2. Its made from rice now, not nuts or ‘various grains’. The stuff made from nuts has a name that is basically ‘Horchata made from nuts’ – very similar in concept to ‘almond milk’ now isn’t it?

        3. Its not the ‘traditional’ *English* word for anything.

        1. The English word was ‘water’. Barley water is still sold in England

        2. And you boldfacing ‘plant milk’ because you are getting this from wiki does not mean that it was EVER called ‘milk’ before the Internet and wiki came along.

          the Mexican version of horchata is made from rice. The Spanish version is usually made from tiger nut (which is actually a tuber not a nut). The etymological origin of the word is from barley – ordi becomes orgeat becomes horchata. Spain is where a grain-soaked calorie-rich drink first became something more than a recuperative drink to feed those whose stomachs were dysenteric.

          Everywhere else the notion of those grains/nuts/tubers/plants soaked in water was called water precisely because ‘water’ was the medium deemed most gentle on the stomach – thus the sort of stuff you would feed someone who couldn’t hold anything down. Using water would still have that connotation

          1. I don’t know man – it might not have been in whatever little isolated town you grew up in. But I’m familiar with coconut milk, milkweed, etc. All things that use the word ‘milk’ but aren’t actually milk yet no one was ever confused by it.

            Because we understand that words can – and do – have multiple meanings.

            1. How about this – are you confused by the term ‘peanut butter’? No butter in it.

              Is it important to you to know that the differences between jellies, jams, and marmalades are carefully defined so that no consumer would ever be in a position of reaching for a jam that was actually a marmalade?

              Is the distinction between ‘champagne’ and ‘sparkling wine’ important? When you buy a bottle of ‘champagne’ is it super important to you that it comes from the Champagne region of France?

              If so, then you could consider living in the EU – where these things are enforced by law.

              1. And then stop calling yourself a libertarian.

              2. How about this – are you confused by the term ‘peanut butter’? No butter in it.

                Are you confused that that term was actually spread BY the US government – as part of the rations in mess kits in WW1?

                Before that, Kellogg (the first to use the term – through his Sanitas Nut Food Company) used the term ‘nut butter’ specifically as a way of comparing/substituting with butter (re germs mostly) in the days before refrigeration was common. Mostly sold to other sanitoriums. It was the US Army that picked up on some of those advantages – and replaced ‘butter’ with ‘peanut butter’ in mess kits. Introducing it to millions of soldiers who had never heard of it before who started calling it ‘peanut butter’.

                But hey – let’s just pretend this is the market at work.

            2. Do you seriously believe markets can function when fraud is no longer a basis for redress? Because all fraud is is deception based on different meanings of words. If anything can mean everything, there can never be fraud.

              “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’?” Alice said.
              Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t?till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’?”
              “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected
              “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean?neither more nor less.”
              “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
              “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master?that’s all.”

    4. Standards are ok – have all the standards you want. Get a private company to inspect your food to ensure it meets your standards.

      Don’t demand the government come in with guns to enforce them for you – especially when the rest of us don’t care about this particular standard.

      Are you really confused by almond milk showing up next to real milk in the store? Is that really a problem for you? If it isn’t, stop fighting this battle on behalf of other people who you don’t even know if they exist or not.

  11. Organic bleach. Hmmm. I think I see a market opportunity.

    My product, marketed to retarded Bureaucrats and politicians, will be labeled as ‘sustainable, non-GMO, organic bleach’.

    1. *free-range

    2. Goes great with kale smoothies.

    3. Gluten-free, too.

      1. GMO-free, though I always drink black coffee.

    4. fair trade, small batch, locally sourced?

      1. and artisianal

  12. This BS will be milked until the cows come home.

  13. Shirley is right. The term “milk” is not specific to the lacteal secretions of a cow. It can also be used to describe any opaque liquid.

  14. You just know that power-hungry bureaucrats are going to milk this for all it’s worth.

    Lording it over the general public has always been their bread and butter. We’re talking about the kind of people who cream their jeans dreaming up new rules to pass and enforce.

    1. I’m sort of 1/2 & 1/2 about this

    1. Did his gay buddies call his “secretions” by the handle of “Harvey Milk milk”? Did the FDA lodge a protest?

      (No, I do NOT want to be told of the details of the milking process, in this case!)

      (Not that there’s anything wrong with being that way, besides “ew”).

  15. “No one buys almond milk under the false illusion that it came from a cow,” Lee said in explanation.

    “Just as no one buys *chocolate* milk under the false illusion that it came from a cow.”

    1. I thought chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

      1. I grew up on a dairy-pigs-chickens, this-that-and-the-other farm a billion years ago; not pulling yer legs here… (Well, except for the billion years might be just a tiny bit exaggerated here).

        My Dad let a salesman give him the “pitch”, and we bought it for a year or two… Bought discarded chocolate-processing byproducts (maybe from Hershey’s? And pretty sure that it was the shells of the beans) to add to the silage for the dairy cows’ feed. It was supposed to raise the value of their milk by raising the butterfat content, and it did seem to do that… And keep the cows healthy; who knows about that? (We quit after a while, after it seemed to not be worth the extra money).

        But I do swear to Government Almighty, we did detect the tiniest, tiniest wee tad of a darkening of the milk, and maybe even a TINY bit of chocolate flavor!

  16. Soy-based hamburgers….almond based cheese.

    Why don’t we ever see the reciprocal:

    hamburger based soy spread


    cheese based almonds

    I mean…why is all the made-up phony shit only in one direction?

    1. No one wants to imitate soy.

    2. Because the real animal products taste better and there aren’t a lot of people who love vegan food who decide to switch to a paleo diet.

  17. The professor is not being punished for violating a law. The University admins are saying she is being punished for violating her terms of employment. The question here is did the University make clear that letters of recommendation are not to be refused over matters of personal political opinion against programs otherwise approved by the employer.

    1. How did I get on this thread?

      1. Better lay off the wheat milk. 😉

      2. Did you post with a phone? Sometimes you can swipe and it takes you to a different page.

  18. I have nipples, can you milk me?

  19. I have nipples, can you milk me?

    1. With the right pills, yes. It’s a thing.

      Mammals make milk. You ‘milk’ a mammal.

      Running a vegetable through a press and extracting oil isn’t milking and it doesn’t make ‘mlik.’ Calling it milk is disingenuous.

      1. So no more Milky Way*, milkweed, milk thistle, coconut milk, milk of magnesia or other forms of ‘milk’.
        Historically, linguistic usage supports the broader usage of ‘milk’, beyond the lactation output of mammals.
        It *must* be emphasized that the proposed rule would limit ‘milk’ to ‘cow milk’, leaving goat milk and breat milk illegal word choices. That this is absurd is the least of its flaws.

        *astronomy, not confection

        1. “It *must* be emphasized that the proposed rule would limit ‘milk’ to ‘cow milk’, leaving goat milk and breast milk illegal word choices. That this is absurd is the least of its flaws.”


          However, to call a form of vegetable oil, “milk” is ridiculous. It’s more attractive to sell to someone.

          The FDA isn’t responsible for selling the Milky Way Galaxy. No one is putting the Milky Way galaxy next to mammal’s milk in a grocery store, coloring the shit white and throwing it in an identical carton. Fuck off, that’s a long shot!

          1. Because government is smart and everyone else is stoopid.

            1. Yeah dipshit… that’s why.

          2. Ah, because *you* consider it ridiculous, we should let the government use force to change several hundred years of common usage?

            1. Cite a source with ‘almond milk’ from the 1700’s….

              Yep, thought so.



              1. How about coconut milk and milkweed? Or is it specifically almonds that you think *other* people (not you, but you need to have the power to protect those other people) will be confused by?

  20. Seems a stretch to get worked up over this. No one is banning the sale of almond milk. Just defining what is an acceptable term to describe a product.
    One of the core functions of a central government, that even most Libertarians agree with, is the arbitration of trade disputes along commonly agreed rules. We tolerate government definition of what a gram is, what a meter is, what is a saturated fat, what is a carbohydrate. Across the market place, we tolerate and often expect the central government to define the terms of common trade. It means we don’t have to carry scales and weights with us whenever we go shopping. That is typically considered a good form of government control.

    The commonly used term ‘chocolate milk’ doesn’t mean it’s the milk of chocolate any more than a carton of ‘strawberry milk’ implies someone lactated a berry. Almond milk is marketed with what appears to be to me some intentional hand waving to cause confusion. Many people are far dumber than we realize and while most of us aren’t confused at the store, there certainly is a significant percentage who are.

    But ultimately, I suspect this comes down largely to Vegan whining as they like to do.

    1. We tolerate government definition of what a gram is, what a meter is

      I thought those units of measurement were defined by bodies such as ISO and ASME, etc. I.e, government may enforce regulation based on those units but it does not define them? No?

      But ultimately, I suspect this comes down largely to Vegan whining as they like to do.

      Come on man. I detest a sanctimonious prick as much as the next guy, but the whiney vegan straw man thing is way off the beat here, is it not? It’s an industry lobby group fussing about labelling and theoretical outcomes on market share etc.

      1. government may enforce regulation based on those units but it does not define them? No?

        No. In the US, standards are defined by NIST – which was originally part of Treasury then Bureau of Standards before becoming part of Commerce. Technically they do not regulate. That would be the executive taking over what is deemed a judicial function. They define – and those definitions can then provide legal standing in court for parties to sue for fraud.

        1. No. In the US, standards are defined by NIST

          Well there’s something else I can get good and riled about. Abolish NIST!

    2. The commonly used term ‘chocolate milk’ doesn’t mean it’s the milk of chocolate any more than a carton of ‘strawberry milk’ implies someone lactated a berry.

      Wait til the dairy industry decides that consumers may want flavoring choices to their milk – say chocolate strawberry and – oh i don’t know – ALMOND. Then we can have almond milk (the dairy version) next to almond milk (the nut version). And a whole bunch of commenters here will pretend there is absolutely no possible confusion as long as ‘most grocery stores are well-lit’.

      1. And you think that damage that that possible confusion is great enough to justify killing people over?

        1. Who is killing someone?

    3. One of the core functions of a central government, that even most Libertarians agree with, is the arbitration of trade disputes along commonly agreed rules.

      No. No I don’t think most libertarians would agree with this. I think most libertarians would say that there would be no reason for the government to get involved in trade disputes that don’t involve fraud or failure to fulfill contract.

      1. ‘commonly agreed rules’ should only apply to the people involved in the trade. What *you* think is good trade practice is irrelevant if you’re not in on the trade.

      2. If the parties can’t agree on the rules, then the trade just doesn’t go through. In this case, if you don’t like the term ‘almond milk’ being used – you just don’t trade with people who use it. Done. No need for government.

      The whole thing is self-correcting.

      The *only* reason this is an issue being visited by the government is because of a special interest trying to gain special privileges to lock down the meaning of a term while eradicating all the existing alternative meanings of that term, using the violence monopoly of the government.

      1. ‘commonly agreed rules’ should only apply to the people involved in the trade. What *you* think is good trade practice is irrelevant if you’re not in on the trade.

        So as long as two people agree that what they are doing is not slavery, they can sell a third party as chattel among themselves.

        If the parties can’t agree on the rules, then the trade just doesn’t go through. In this case, if you don’t like the term ‘almond milk’ being used – you just don’t trade with people who use it.

        So exactly how many lawyers do you take with you to the grocery store? You’re one of those Rothbardian twits aren’t you

  21. Glad to see Reason milking this for all it’s worth…

  22. “Potato milk” coming soon to stores* near you!

    *your wife’s face

    1. There is now oat milk. And people do love it.

      And you can make it at home. All it takes is a blender and cheescloth

  23. So I used to worry about the fraud of ‘Almond milk is like milk!’. But Silk’s Progress is Perfection makes me kinda think I should be ideologically opposed to non-dairy opaque white-ish beverage.

  24. What about a pearl necklace? They aren’t always made of pearls you know.

    1. I could make millions selling those at walmart in the jewelry aisle!

  25. these are the people who brought you “cheese food substitute”.

    Are they seriously going to ban “goat milk”?

    1. “these are the people who brought you “cheese food substitute”.”

      Do I have to remind you, some great famous person way back when said “Blessed are the cheese fakers”!!!

  26. I invite people to peruse definition 2

    2 : a liquid resembling milk in appearance: such as
    a : the latex of a plant
    b : the contents of an unripe kernel of grain

    1. Well maybe we should start letting latex or titanium paint producers sell their refrigerated product in the dairy aisle and call it milk.

  27. “”They buy almond milk because it didn’t come from a cow.””

    Let’s hope they don’t buy chocolate milk for the same reason. ie Chocolate milk comes, in part, from a cow.

  28. This is brought up by the dairy farmers, isn’t t?

    Those dairy farmers would scream bloody murder if the Government put some regulations about how to treat their cows or their workers.

    But they have no problem having the Goverment put regulations on what can be called “milk”

    Just remember, Government does not put regulations in a vaccum. Someone influetnial demands it. The same someone who will scream bloody murder if the regulations affected him (or her)

    And this is why a Libertarian society cannot exist. Only fair weather friends.

    1. Not even the dairy farmers. The mandatory marketing agency that dairy farmers are forced to join and pay money to. That’s who’s doing this.

  29. If the FDA decides they need to pursue this codification of dairy milk vs non-dairy milk, in the cause of saving those easily-duped shoppers, then I need them to be consistent about it. Let us cease calling this deceptive product called ‘peanut butter’ peanut butter, because it is NOT butter and was not churned from the milk of a healthy cow… I remember many a time when I reached for the ‘peanut butter’, only to remind myself at the last minute that such a thing was not true butter.

    Instead, we shall henceforth call it ‘peanut paste’. And ‘almond paste’ and ‘cashew paste’ etc. That we have allowed this deception to carry on for so many decades, confusing housewives and children who thought they were consuming real butter, is scandalous. Jif and Pan probably have shadow slush funds for paying off Congress.

    1. I would like to label what you wrote as being “udder hogwash”, but since it involves neither real udders, nor real hogs, I had better keep my lips sealed and my keyboard locked up!

  30. I think we all have pretty much milked this issue for all it’s worth

  31. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is an idiot. Has he not ever heard of “milk thistle”? Or know that back when rubber was produced by extracting the :milk” from the rubber tree? They had soy milk formula for babies back in the 1950’s, and NO ONE ever got confused. (Hah, one taste of that foul concoction disabused ME of the notion it was anything to do with cows). When kids pluck the stem of the dandelion flower, they universally remark on the thick white milk oozing out of rhe now-exposed and of the stalk.
    And EVERYONE knows that goats, sheep, yaks, llamas, all lactate and that their MILK is used in various ways as food for humans.

    And we PAY this creature our tax dollars? Hath he not one shred of respect for the people for whom he works. For shame………

  32. Men have milked their nuts since time began.

    1. Not a lot feed it to their children though.

  33. An argument in support of defining milk as being a product of mammals not plants. We are destroying the meaning of language when we redefine a specific technical term for marketing products that do not meet the technical term. I accept that there are historical problems such as coconut milk, which should never have been defined as milk but instead should have been called coconut juice. Milk from cows, goats, horses, sheep and camels have been consumed by humans throughout history, as well as from our mothers. We are conveying less or imperfect information by giving the term milk to white plant products, which will have a cost for everyone in having to think longer or seek more information on what the actual product is. There are other assaults on technical food terms such as vegan honey which is not made by bees but is just a sugar concoction.

    1. TFX, it is not the market re-defining anything, rather, it is the milk industry and bureaucracy re-defining ‘milk’. My Webster’s (a long trusted name in the defining of words employed by the English language) primarily defines milk as “a white fluid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals for the nourishment of their young”. While “cow’s milk” is a definition under ‘milk’, it is not the primary one, nor is “…the juice of certain plants” the primary definition, yet it is included under the definition of “milk”. If we have to re-define all of those milky substances out there, are we not then forcing others to “…think longer or seek more information…” as you indicate?

  34. All through the comments I see the repeated ‘everybody knows’ meme. Now stop and think. Do you REALLY believe that if you know, everybody knows? A significant fraction of the population can’t understand the instructions on their prescription drug bottles. They also can’t follow instructions to prepare for a medical procedure. An IQ of under 80 keeps you out of the military, but not off the streets. So no, in fact, everyone doens’t know that almond milk is not milk. Seriously.

    1. So what do you suggest?

  35. I’m okay with calling it almond juice, coconut juice or the such as long as dairy producers are required to call their product ‘bovine lactate juice’. Truth in advertising, but ‘Got bovine lactate juice?’ doesn’t have the same ring!

  36. There are chemical “milks” used in many applications. Are they too to be unlabeled? Industry NAZIS !!!!!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.