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Florida’s Orwellian Milk Laws

April 5, 2016

Yesterday I almost froze my fingers off. You know how there are people who run out for milk and bread when a storm approaches? Well, I don’t do that. But last night, you know what I realized we needed?

Milk. Specifically skim milk.

On this snowy April day I worked entirely from home, so I neither had to move the car, nor shovel the driveway. But that just meant that it iced up a bit. And after several hours of flurries there were a few inches of accumulation. It probably doubled our snow levels for the winter.

I mistakenly thought that I had only 30 minutes to make it to Stewart’s before it closed. So I hustled outside with only the fingerless gloves in my pockets, not realizing how much snow I’d have to move to get my car out. It wasn’t pretty.

But you don’t want to be around the Fussy household on a morning where there is no skim milk. Personally, I don’t get it. I think skim milk is awful. However, the kids and wife insist on drinking it and using it on their cereal.

Now there’s a whole thing that The Consumerist has been covering about skim milk. Have you heard about it? Let’s start with an easy question: What do you call milk after you skim all the fatty cream off the top?

I’m guessing you either said:

a) Skim milk, or
b) Wait, this sounds like a trick question.

Becauses the correct answer, at least according to the state of Florida (and the federal court that upheld the state’s ruling), is “Imitation Milk Product.”

In Florida, if you take milk that comes from a cow, skim it of its fat, and put it in a bottle, it’s somehow no longer milk. It’s not even a non-fat milk product. The mind boggling truth is that this is now somehow a facsimile of a milk product.

Which isn’t to say that skim milk doesn’t exist in Florida. It does. Of course it does. Here’s the recipe for how you make it.

1) Start with actual milk from a cow
2) Take out the fat, and transform it into an imitation milk product
3) Add vitamins to the liquid, and voila, it’s no longer an imitation, but actual, bona-fide skim milk.

Thus has ruled two courts. A Florida court. And a federal court, in support of Florida’s decision.

So we have this one dairy that doesn’t want to adulturate its milk with additives and has been selling skimmed milk for years as “skim milk”. Now they are going to have to stop. I’d argue the dairy was making skim milk the old fashioned way. And it’s true that milk has been skimmed for a long time. Butter fat is valuable stuff, and it is sometimes collected for butter, cream, or cheesemaking, while the rest of the fluid dairy is put to good use.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is a part-skimmed-milk cheese. Fortunately, it’s not made in Florida.

Anyhow, now the state is telling this dairy, the Ocheesee Creamery, that it’s has to inject vitamins back into the milk in order to sell it as skim milk. Otherwise it’s not milk, but rather a “milk product”.

It’s madness. You know, because being a dairy farmer isn’t hard enough without the government changing the definitions of common words and insisting that a product that comes out of a cow can go from milk, to not-milk, and back to milk again with the addition of some vitamins supplements.

Did I mention the madness?

Oh, and speaking of milk and farms. I should mention that the FarmOn! Foundation is doing something interesting tonight at the SUNY Chancellor’s Residence at 423 State Street. They are hosting a reception where you can hear more about the FarmOn! partnership with SUNY. I hear there will be nibbles and beverages. It starts at 6pm and goes until 8. I can’t make it, but if you see Tessa, please tell her I say hi. Should you want to attend this fundraising event, RSVP@farmonfoundation.org is the email to get your name on the guest list.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2016 10:30 am

    Where do you find this stuff??? In a stoopid way it made me laugh – but this is, I agree, positively ridiculous.

  2. albanylandlord permalink
    April 5, 2016 11:01 pm

    Thats what industry lobbying gets you. Its not the judges that are idiots, the law is written to define Milk the way the large producers want. They can add all sorts of additives to milk, especially skim, and just call it milk. No need to list those other ingredients if you pay those honest politicians enough money.

    BTW when my wife sends me out to get skim milk, I always return with 1%. Just showing my love.

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