Growing up in rural Oklahoma, I loved spending weekends with my grandparents on their dairy farm. Though I cherish the time I spent hanging out in the milk barn or riding the four-wheeler to check cattle, I know it was not an easy job for grandma and grandpa. But it wasn’t the manual labor, droughts, or the economy that made life difficult. As State Rep Jim Grego knows, dairy farmers in Oklahoma have a much greater threat to their livelihoods.
Via The Hill…
A GOP state lawmaker in Oklahoma has introduced legislation that aims to crack down on plant-based milk alternatives being labeled as milk.
House Bill 2994, which was authored by state Rep. Jim Grego (R), says that items labeled as “Grade A milk and milk products” must be derived from hoofed mammals like cows and goats.
“A person shall not state on a label of a food product that the product is milk unless the product meets the definition of milk” established in the measure, the bill goes on to state.
The bill also stipulates that, if passed, the state’s Board of Agriculture would be required to “establish and implement a plan to enforce the prohibition” of products labelled milk that don’t fit the requirements outlined, including plant-based products it says are “mislabeled as milk.”
Part of me understands where Grego is coming from. I am aware that the definition of milk is, “an opaque white fluid rich in fat and protein, secreted by female mammals.” I am also skeptical of the existence of almond titties. Plus, it’s not like he is flat-out banning the sale of plant-based milk alternatives, right?
The measure calls for a “ban on all products that do not meet the requirements of subsection B of this section, including plant-based products mislabeled as milk.”
Grego said in an interview with local newspaper the Duncan Banner earlier this week that bill is designed to help dairy farmers in the state.
I can actually get behind the idea of banning plant-based milk in Oklahoma, but only because I want to watch the Live PD episode when the Tulsa PD cracks down on a gang of Soy Boys in cardigan sweaters peddling Silk and on the street corner.
“Run, Daniel! Law enforcement officers are here!”
“They’ll never catch me. I’ll meet you at Akin’s in one hour!”
He added that products like coconut milk and soy milk would still be able to be sold in the state, but they just wouldn’t be called milk. The lawmaker suggested manufacturers could instead label the items as “extract.”
“The products will still be out there,” he told the local publication. “I don’t see them going away, but they won’t be called milk. I don’t see a single product going away.”
If passed, the bill is scheduled to take effect at the beginning of November.
Yes, mislabeling plant-based “extracts” as milk will only mislead and hurt consumers and dairy farmers, alike. While we’re at it, we might as well work towards renaming many other common misnomers. For example, instead of referring to tofu as a protein, let’s call it an “organic curd compound.” And instead of referring to Grego’s bill as an attempt to help Oklahoma dairy farmers, let’s call it, “a time-wasting, bullshit political maneuver that suggests Grego is more worried about rallying constituents than actually helping them.”
Hayley is a vegan now. Her grandma has no problem making her mashed taters with almond milk. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek