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Got Lacteal Secretions? Virginia Tries to Limit the Legal Definition of Milk

Plus, the Super Bowl adds up to a lot of food waste, and more news to start your day

Milk pouring from a glass bottle into a glass cup.
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

The milk lobby is working to make milk sound even grosser

As plant-based milks continue to dominate the market and the diary industry faces bankruptcies, dairy producers are fighting back any weird ol’ way that they can. Taking a page from the beef industry, which recently lobbied for a law that would ban meatless products from using phrases like “meat” and “burger” in product descriptions, Big Dairy is using similar tactics. In Virginia, according to The Guardian, it is now “unlawful” to describe plant-based milks as “milk.” The legal definition of milk is now “the lacteal secretion of a healthy, hooved mammal.”

“Our dairy farmers have been going out to the tune of one dairy farm every other week,” said republican delegate Barry Knight, adding that he hoped the legislation will help Virginia’s dairy farmers. But what this and similar legislation seem to willfully misunderstand is that no one is buying oat milk because they think they are buying milk. The fact that it’s not a lacteal secretion is precisely the point. Recently, the Ninth Circuit court ruled in favor of plant-milk producers in Painter v. Blue Diamond Growers, saying in the opinion, “Painter’s complaint does not plausibly allege that a reasonable consumer would be deceived into believing that Blue Diamond’s almond milk products are nutritionally equivalent to dairy milk based on their package labels and advertising.”

In case you were wondering, there is an exception in the Virginia law about human breast milk, so no one has to go around calling it “human breast secretions.”

And in other news...

  • Over 2,000 pounds of ground beef is being recalled for plastic contamination. [Forbes]
  • People are paying their respects to Kobe Bryant at his favorite Mexican restaurant, El Camino Real. [Vice]
  • KFC will begin testing its Beyond Fried Chicken in Charlotte next week. [WSOCTV]
  • Jack in the Box is planning another social media stunt for the Super Bowl instead of paying for a TV ad. [QSR]
  • After extensive flooding, the Friar’s Club will be closed until the end of the summer. [Page Six]
  • You think you’re too good to put Velveeta and Rotel in your queso dip? [Unnamed Temporary Sports Blog]
  • Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes really are simple. Really. No, trust us. [The New Yorker]
  • Over 40,000 pounds of food may be wasted at the Super Bowl, specifically from the game’s VIP attenders. [The Counter]
  • Curséd crudité: