Friday, March 24, 2017

You Can Say What You Mean

A couple of years ago, we noted the problem faced by the all-natural dairy company Ocheesee Creamery in its attempt to sell skim milk. The problem: They were selling skim milk and calling it that.

As the original item notes, the state of Florida had established a definition of skim milk. It is milk with the cream skimmed off, and then processed by an injection of vitamins A and D. Thus, the Ocheesee Creamery could not sell its skim milk -- which was made when they skimmed the cream off to use to make the products in their name -- unless they added the vitamins (the cream contains most of milk's vitamin A and D). Or unless they labeled their all-natural skim milk as an "imitation milk product."

The problem for the Ocheesee folks was that they marketed themselves as an all-natural dairy. To add the vitamins went against their brand, as did the idea of labeling their milk "imitation." Their only other choice was to pour all of the skim milk down the drain and wreck their financial base.

Ocheesee sued Florida for the right to label the skim milk they were selling "skim milk." A district court in Florida, apparently suffering from the same affliction as the one fogging the understanding of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, ruled against the dairy. But the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found a dictionary, looked up "skim milk," quoted the definition in its decision and ruled in favor of the dairy.

The state of Florida can, of course, appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court. This would cost money, so you might wonder why it would bother, but you can never tell if a government is thinking.

1 comment:

fillyjonk said...

I made a joke on Twitter referencing "Malk" (Now with Vitamin R!) from the Simpsons, but as a long-time skim-milk drinker, the idea of calling it "imitation milk" gets my hackles up.

"Imitation milk" is that coffee creamer powder stuff. Or soy milk. If it came out of a cow's teat, it's real milk.