TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal judge agrees with the Florida Department of Agriculture that an all-natural creamery can’t label its skim milk “skim milk” because it doesn’t add vitamins to it.

So unless an appeals court disagrees, the Ocheesee Creamery will continue to dump perfectly good skim milk down the drain rather than comply with the state’s demand that it sell it as “imitation skim milk.”

Creamery owner Mary Lou Wesselhoeft said it upsets her that thousands of gallons of the product are discarded each year, but she won’t lie to customers by calling it imitation.

“You’re always told not to waste food, not to throw stuff away, … so it is very hard,” she said. “We’re punished for telling the truth, and that’s what’s sad.”

Ocheesee was selling its skim milk for three years before the department said it had to be labeled imitation. The Institute for Justice sued on behalf of Wesselhoeft for the right to be able to sell the product as skim milk. Judge Robert Hinkle sided with the state on Wednesday, saying the government has the right to set standards for milk.

The dictionary definition of skim milk is simply milk with the cream removed. But the Department of Agriculture says under state and federal law, skim milk can’t be sold as skim milk unless vitamins in the milk fat are replaced so it has the same nutritional value as whole milk.


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