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Florida Is Being Sued for Labeling Skim Milk as 'Imitation Milk'

A small family dairy farm specializing in additive-free grass fed milk is suing the state of Florida for requiring them to label their skim milk as "imitation milk."

by Javier Cabral
Aug 24 2015, 11:30pm

Photo via Flickr user Echoplex7

Never has a creamy beverage garnered as much controversy as milk.

Be it traditional dairy milk in its raw or pasteurized form, almond milk made with almost no almonds whatsoever, or Britney Spears' favorite brand of soymilk, there is something about that cold creamy beverage that a lot of us grew up on—and still like to pour into our five cups of coffee a day—that just has a magical way of pissing people off.

Today's case in point is skim milk, since it has inspired a full-blown lawsuit against the state of Florida on whether local law should require skim milk containers sold in Florida to be labeled as "imitation milk," and not "skim milk." The basis for this lawsuit stems from Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs' belief that skim milk is not real milk, unless vitamins are added to it. And one very defiant local milk producer that has had enough, Ocheesee Creamery.

Like many other small family farms around the country, the Ocheesee family are answering American's growing concern of preferring additive-free foods in their diet, priding themselves in adding zero additives to their grass fed milk grown in Florida's Calhoun County, including their controversial skim milk. According to the Associated Press, this lawsuit has been three years in the making. "To me, it's degrading and a slap in the face because it's pure, unadulterated skim milk," said Mary Lou Wesselhoeft, Ocheesee Creamery's co-owner owner in the report.

Prior to this new requirement, the dairy farm was selling upwards of 200 gallons of skim milk a week at five dollars a gallon, but when the the state ordered them to relabel it or stop selling it, that's when the Institute for Justice stepped in to represent Ocheesee in the court of law.

The plot only thickens from here. Paul Wesselhoeft, Ocheesee's other co-owner, is claiming that the state was okay with their milk being labeled skim milk three years ago and that now, "the same department insists on labeling it imitation milk."

If you want to get technical, the Oxford Dictionary simply defines skim milk as "milk from which the cream has been removed" with no mentions of any vitamins at all. While the USDA actually recommends drinking low-fat milk over the full-fat stuff anyway.

The trial is not taking place until November. In the meanwhile, you can always try out some of the other milks out there. We hear camel milk tastes pretty awesome and is good for you, too.