In the decadeslong war over milk – with purveyors of cow juice on one side and the people who make an increasing array of ecru-colored plant- and nut-based drinks on the other – this is as close to consorting with the enemy as it gets.

The manufacturer of a popular brand of almond milk has announced a recall for what some would say sacrilegious act: Somehow, cow’s milk got into their almond milk.

The recall affects nearly 150,000 half-gallon cartons of Almond Breeze almond milk shipped to wholesalers in 28 states, according to the Food and Drug Administration. That is less than 1 percent of all the refrigerated almond milk shipped by HP Hood LLC in the past month.

HP Hood is a national dairy company based in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. But the company also handles the production of Almond Breeze, the brand of Blue Diamond Growers, a California almond cooperative.

This revelation could be more than enough to sour fans’ perception of the Almond Breeze brand whose carton features almonds plopping into a sea of pure white liquid.

It was a perception carefully cultivated by Blue Diamond Growers, whose website features a picture of a singular, perfect almond sitting upright on a wooden table and another photo of a farmer meticulously inspecting a blossoming almond tree. If the photos weren’t enough, the text near the top of the page proudly proclaims: “Almonds are all we do.”


But a statement from Hood about the mix-up conjures a different image. The almond milk was produced in a factory – one that, almond drinkers now know, was playing both sides in the milk wars.

“Although the almond milk is processed on a separate line and filler … this particular batch of almond milk was contaminated with one container of milk through an employee error,” the representative said in an email to CBS News. “Hood made the decision to recall all of the product from this batch as a precaution.”

One person with a lactose allergy was sickened by the almond milk, but Hood said the product is completely safe to drink for anyone without that allergy.

For many, it was another salvo in the debate over what is and isn’t “milk,” with billions in revenue at stake.

Victoria tweeted “Is the dairy industry trying to get back at us by poisoning our almond milk with dairy???”

People who ship cows milk argue that people who sell hemp, nut, and soy-based drinks are using the centuries-old good name of milk to market products that should more appropriately be labeled soy juice or hemp drink.

In 2000 and 2010, the National Milk Producers Federation wrote the FDA to argue for a more exclusive use of the word “milk” on labels. At the time, federation spokesman Christopher Galen told USA Today, “We had to do something,” which included creating a Facebook page: “They Don’t Got Milk.”

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it planned to start heavily enforcing a regulation that says the only products that can call themselves “milk” are things that come from the “milking of one or more healthy cows.”

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