Legislation defining ‘milk,’ protecting dairy farmers, passes GA

dairy farms
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A bill that would prohibit plant-based milk alternatives from being marketed as milk is headed to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Both the House of Delegates and State Senate passed HB 119, introduced by Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, which defines “milk” as the lacteal secretion of a healthy hooved mammal and provides that a food product is unlawfully misbranded if its label states that it is milk and it fails to meet such definition, except for human breast milk.

Before you arrange to get your cashew, oat, almond or soy milk dropped in by Amazon, there is this one caveat: the legislation doesn’t take effect until similar legislation is enacted in a total of 11 states.

Chris Runion, R-Bridgewater, was a co-patron of the legislation, which isn’t even disguised as being anything other than what it is: using public policy to protect the interests of one industry against the success of another.

“Last year Virginia lost up to three dairy farms a week. Rockingham and Augusta County are two of the three largest dairy producers in the state. This will have a positive impact for our community and this highly regulated industry. I am proud to co-patron this important legislation,” Runion said.

“This is about giving the consumer correct information and being truthful in advertising. I believe it is paramount to protect our dairy farmers from products claiming to be similar in nutritional value but failing to deliver the necessary vitamins and minerals.”

He could have left out the part about necessary vitamins and minerals, and stopped at protecting dairy farmers, because that’s what this is.

Story by Chris Graham

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