Florida wanted skim milk to be labeled as “imitation milk.” But a federal appeals court said no and now it’s time for the state to pay up – at the cost of $20 million state tax payors dollars, according to NBC2.
The battle over skim versus imitation has been going on in Florida since 2011, the state defines skim milk as having Vitamin A. Ocheesee, an all-natural dairy that doesn’t add ingredients to natural products, objected, and sued.
Miriam-Webster along with most dictionaries define skim milk as “milk from which the cream has been taken — called also skimmed milk.” But the state of Florida argued it can’t be called skim milk if it doesn’t have the same amount of Vitamin A as whole milk. So the state wanted to call it “imitation milk”.
The creamery offered to put on its label that it doesn’t add vitamins to the product, but the state did not agree to that compromise.
A federal court ruled that the state couldn’t force the name change, but the legal battle cost the taxpayers more than $20 million in fees and expenses for lawyers who have sued the state.
Attorney Scot Goldburg explains “Normally the ones that prevail get their attorney fee, and if you have an ongoing litigation for years and years with a multi-million dollar corporation against the whole state of Florida, you’re going to rack up a lot of bills.”
The court said the state disregarded far less restrictive and more precise ways of labeling the product, “for example, allowing skim milk to be called what it is and merely requiring a disclosure that it lacks vitamin A.”
So, skim milk will remain skim milk and the state of Florida will foot the bill for their legal loss.