Virginia bill cracks down on dairy alternatives & defines ‘milk’


In recent years the milk section in grocery stores have become more crowded with dairy alternatives, which has resulted in a demand decline for real milk. In an effort to create a clear distinction between traditional milk and its alternatives, one Virginia lawmaker introduced a new bill to define “milk” and would even ban the sale of any alternatives that are sold as “milk”. 

The bill, introduced by Virginia lawmaker Del. Barry Knight, plans to set a clear definition for milk to be used for labeling requirements. According to the new bill, “‘Milk’ means the lacteal secretion, practically free of colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of a healthy hooved mammal, including any member of the order Cetartiodactyla, including a member of the family Bovidae, including cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, and yaks; Cervidae, including deer, reindeer, and moose; and Equidae, including horses and donkeys.”

If it passes, Virginia’s Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services would have to create a plan to ban the sale any alternatives sold as “milk” such as almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk. The bill says, “Such plan shall include a ban on the sale or offer for sale of any product that violates such prohibition, including any plant-based product that is misbranded as milk.”

This is not the first bill to try and regulate the definition of milk. North Carolina has a similar bill that passed last year that set a definition for milk and could also ban the sale of misbranded products. However, this bill requires 11 other states to pass a similar law to ensure North Carolina retailers weren’t ostracized. 

While the bill is still in the early stages, this will not be the end of the debate to define milk and actions to ban products using the term incorrectly. 

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