The Ocheesee Creamery of Florida is under attack for doing a great thing for the people of Florida: keeping their skim milk completely all-natural. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs has ordered the owners of the creamery to inject their skim milk with synthetic Vitamin A or else be forced to label their milk as “imitation.” Speaking to the Tallahassee Democrat, owner Mary Lou Wesselhoeft said, “Our customers want an all-natural product. If we call it imitation, they will not buy our product. To me it’s degrading and a slap in the face because it’s pure, unadulterated skim milk.”
During a hearing, Chief Judge Robert Hinkle of the U.S. District Court for Northern Florida said, “It’s hard to call this imitation milk. It came right out of the cow. Anyone who reads imitation skim milk would think it didn’t come out of a cow.”
Even though the skim milk is pure and unadulterated, the state of Florida demands the Wesselhoefts label it “imitation” skim milk. It’s a total play on words as the state tries to rewire how consumers think and change their buying habits. The state is literally forcing creameries to inundate skim milk with synthetics while forcing actual natural skim milk to be labeled “imitation.”
In much the same way, this is how genetically modified foods make their way slyly to the marketplace, deceiving consumers along the way. The genetically altered ingredients, inundated with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, are accepted as normal and natural with no indications, warnings or labels describing the synthetic changes. The real foods — organic foods — are forced to undergo a costly approval and labeling process to prove they are real. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The genetically altered foods appear natural while the organic foods seem like imitation, with labels trying to prove the food is real.
Mary Lou and Paul Wesselhoeft have refused to add the synthetic vitamin A to their skim milk, and Florida has stopped them from doing business. Now the creamery has no choice but to dump hundreds of gallons of skim milk. Ocheesee Creamery is now suing the state and is being represented by the Institute for Justice.
The small, family-owned dairy is located in Grand Ridge, Florida, along the Florida/Georgia line. For three years, they have sold skim milk without confusion or harm. They sell about 300 gallons of skim milk each week. As the state bullies them, this milk goes to waste.
Representing the state, Assistant Florida Attorney General Ashley E. Davis says, “Ocheesee’s product is imitating – literally imitating – skim milk.” Davis says that consumers expect the milk to have the same nutrition as whole milk. The state requires that synthetic vitamins be added to all skim milk sold in supermarkets because it supposedly boosts the milk’s nutrition level.
Davis said, “Consumers have the expectation they’ll get a certain amount of nutrition. (Ocheesee’s milk) is not skim milk and that disclaimer of imitation accurately portrays that. It’s either they make their product skim milk or they sell it as imitation.”
Chief Judge Robert Hinkle understands where the state is coming from but points out that the creamery’s product does meet the definition of skim milk as found in Webster’s Dictionary.
“You know something’s been removed in order to make it skim milk,” Judge Hinkle said. For those who don’t understand what skim milk is — it’s simply “milk from which cream has been removed.”
That’s exactly how skim milk is made at the Ocheesee Creamery and that definition alone verifies that they are making real skim milk and not “imitation,” as the state wants it to be called.
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