What is Skim Milk? The FDA versus Dairy Farmers

FDA food regulation isn’t as high stakes as FDA drug regulation but it can be both costly and absurd. A case in point. The FDA controls how foods are labeled with the goal of ensuring that they are “properly” labelled. It’s important that consumers not be misled but what does one say, for example, about soy milk? Is that label proper? (The FDA so far has declined to rule on that issue but the “Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese To Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act (DAIRY PRIDE) act may force their hand.)

The FDA’s control over labeling is more powerful than it appears because it can be used to define what a product is. The FDA, for example, can’t force milk producers to add vitamins to milk but by defining milk as including certain vitamins they can say that milk without these vitamins is mislabeled! This is exactly the case with dairy farmer Randy Sowers and South Mountain Creamery. South Mountain Creamery sells skim milk, i.e. milk with the fat skimmed off. The FDA, however, wants skim milk to contain as many vitamins as whole milk so they define skim milk as including vitamin A and D. If farmers want to sell skim milk and call it “skim milk” they have to add vitamins. To avoid prosecution the FDA is requiring South Mountain Creamery to label their skim milk, “imitation skim milk”! Yes. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Real Skim Milk is Imitation Skim Milk. Sowers and the Institute for Justice are suing on First Amendment Grounds.

The FDA has a history of losing First Amendment cases and will probably lose this case as well. A Federal appeals court in Florida has already ruled in a very similar case that labeling skim milk, “skim milk” is not deceptive.

Comments

Should go foe "skimmed milk". It is undefined, so they can define the terms. This is a very old game.

"for"

Let's not forget why vitamin D was added to milk many decades ago. This might seem like a tempest in a teapot but the government did appropriately mandate that vitamin D be added and labeled that way. Why change?

Why change? Because it is more accurate. Milk with Vitamin D added should be called "fortified milk." Milk without should be called "milk."

"Skimmed milk" is what we call it in Britain. Though who uses the filthy stuff I can't imagine.

I also don't see the point of milky water, so have never given any thought to the labeling, but now that I think about it, it makes sense that it is FDA-mandated. Otherwise, "light milk" by now would surely have replaced the retro, dietitian's degree-sounding "skim milk."

'FDA food regulation isn’t as high stakes as FDA drug regulation'

Well, one could say that. Or one could actually quote the CDC from two decades ago - 'To better quantify the impact of foodborne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year.' https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/5/5/99-0502_article

'may force their hand'

Why yes, the FDA is subject to the laws passed by Congress. something one assumes that the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center would be aware of, working as diligently as he does to change laws that Congress has passed.

So, when can we return to the halycon days before the FDA with its onerous labelling requirements ever existed, and no dairy feared the FDA's wrath when selling swill milk ? Though whether Americans would be thrilled to going back to the days when it was not illegal to call what you you selling as pure country milk is harder to judge.

'In May 1858, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper did a landmark exposé of the distillery-dairies of Manhattan and Brooklyn that marketed so-called swill milk that came from cows fed on distillery waste and then adulterated with water, eggs, flour, and other ingredients that increased the volume and masked the adulteration.[6] Swill milk dairies were noted for their filthy conditions and overpowering stench both caused by the close confinement of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of cows in narrow stalls where, once they were tied, they would stay for the rest of their lives, often standing in their own manure, covered with flies and sores, and suffering from a range of virulent diseases. These cows were fed on boiling distillery waste, often leaving the cows with rotting teeth and other maladies. The milk drawn from the cows was routinely adulterated with water, rotten eggs, flour, burnt sugar and other adulterants with the finished product then marketed falsely as "pure country milk" or "Orange County Milk".' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swill_milk_scandal

Surely marketing something as "pure country milk" when it is actually not pure, and is produced in an urban setting, is simply fraudulent, and could be prosecuted under general common law or statutory fraud provisions...

Not at the time - there were no labelling laws, especially those from the FDA, a government agency created 50 years after the heyday of swill milk.

And really, who is to say, under the 1st Amendment, that your statement of opinion of what is country and what is urban should have any regulatory effect at all. After all, that is what Prof. Tabarrok is arguing - no one in a regulatory agency should have the power to determine such standards and force a dairy to follow them.

I'm no legal historian, but my impression is that fraud has always been illegal, and that in common-law countries (like the US), this isn't dependent on any laws being passed by a legislature (though I would guess that there were relevant statutes at the time).

Even the most ardent defenders of free speech (like myself) don't think that the mere fact that an act consists of "speech" automatically excludes it from being illegal - eg, "I'll pay you $100,000 if you kill him" and "no, it's not poisonous" (when it is).

At some point along the line, it was necessary for the FDA to step in and make a decision about what percentage of peanut butter can be composed of rat feces, and still be labeled peanut butter.

We the People may not agree with the number the FDA came up with, but fair to say, absent the rule, there would be some peanut butter makers wiling to see how far they could get away with.

So what is your justification for the FDA requiring the production of "swill milk" while better, natural products, without additives are banned? These greedy companies that sell unadulterated milk must be stopped!

Excellent trolling by by prior here. Someone reading quickly might even think he was on-topic.

Why are they "better?" Because they are "natural," without "additives?"

That's silly. The required additives are vitamins, which make the product as nutritious as regular milk. The idea, like it or not, is that consumers who buy the product, and make it a part of their and their children's diets, ought to be able to assume, without running lab tests, that it contains nutrients that they reasonably expect.

Not everyone, not even all libertarians, are as wonderfully well-informed and knowledgeable as Mark Brophy imagines libertarians are.

This is exactly the sort of nuanced discussion about regulation that our nation seems incapable of holding.

Only a complete fool or unicorn-hunting libertarian - one totally ignorant of food safety history - would believe that we don't need regulation to protect us from sociopathic food producers. (at least if we hope to have any sort of food system of a scale beyond local).

However, it is also impossible to miss if you care to do the research, that a large part of the FDAs modern role has become captive enforcer of barriers to entry, in service of incumbent large producers.

When the large producers want to hide what they do, they claim that labeling requirements are a restraint on free trade. When they want to block new products, they claim that stronger regulation is required to protect public health.

If you have enough lobbyists, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Libertarians don't eat food sold by sociopathic food producers. If you were as clever as libertarians, you wouldn't, either. Libertarians avoid Facebook and other products and services that don't fill their needs or wants. Governments bless many foul products and censor many good products so it's best to curtail them.

And how to clever libertarians do this without relying on inspectors, label laws, and social media? Personally interview every producer, personally inspect every processing plant, and personally witness every production run for every food item they buy?

Indeed, the government regulation of food has become inverted in many instances. No one has explained to me what would replace it though, so the argument seems to be to just throw ourselves at the mercy of Conagra and Perdue.

SCUBA diving is almost completely unregulated, as is the manufacture of SCUBA equipment (other than general regulations all products face), the activity is carried out in dangerous environments with equipment that could kill you quickly if it fails.

Since government isn't monitoring the safety of the equipment nor imposing licensing on divers, air suppliers or dive shops, by the left's logic SCUBA diving should be rife with bad actors and fraudsters, and should be very dangerous. After all, how does your average consumer know whether a dive regulator is safe or not without government inspectors?

The truth is that SCUBA diving has an incredibly good record of safety, equipment failures leading to fatalities are exceedingly rare, and training and technical requirements are universal, even in small countries where corruption in government is widespread and social trust is low.

By your logic, this should be impossible. So how do you suppose this enviable situation came about without it being guided and controlled by government regulators?

Some industries, like voluntary recreation, are left to the tort system to regulate.

https://www.scuba.com/resources/equiprecall.aspx

https://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/Equipment.php#Recalls

And, as you said, instead of regulating equipment, they regulate the participants through certification.

If I were going to take up SCUBA diving I would get recommendations from knowledgeable people, including my instructor, as to the gear I should buy. I expect that if I went into a dive shop the personnel would know a bit about it all.

Unlike milk, I wouldn't run in on my way home from work, grab something off the shelf, and go home.

I suppose grocery stores could have nutrition advisers available to help customers, but where I live, at least, the idea hasn't caught on.

Do libertarians have any ability to make distinctions, or is it all "regulation bad - must oppose regulation?"

I think I know the answer.

Because libertarians are all perfectly rational and totally well-informed.

OK, Mark. Better do your homework now.

So because the forerunners of the FDA did something useful 100 years ago, we have to put up with the self-aggrandizement, and frankly open political corruption, of the FDA today?

There is an interesting fallacy there. I will call it the King George III fallacy. Because someone's ancestor allegedly pulled a sword from the stone everyone has to obey his 19th generation descendent?

The fallacy is yours.

Just because an entity has strayed from its original intended purpose, doesn't mean the original purpose isn't still important.

I call that the Libertarian Temper Tantrum fallacy

Thank God the FDA hasn't gotten a twist on Scotch Whisky.

In the kingdom of the blind (i.e., blind faith in big government), the one-eyed man is king.

Hmm. Bourbon got overtaken by greed. Distillation source and location is meaningless, age claims are gone.

Scotch might well be next.

Well, the FDA clearly trusts the UK to apply the Scotch Whisky Regulations. All 78 pages of them - 'The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 (SWR) came into force on 23 November 2009*. They replaced the
Scotch Whisky Act 1988 and the Scotch Whisky Order 1990. Whereas the previous legislation had only governed the way in which Scotch Whisky must be produced, the SWR also set out rules on how Scotch
Whiskies must be labelled, packaged and advertised, as well as requiring Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be bottled in Scotland from 2012.' http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/media/12744/scotchwhiskyregguidance2009.pdf

The scotch labeling regulation is almost entirely about trademark protection as opposed to food safety

But I am not denying the original purpose was useful. Although I am not sure that rickets is such a threat these days we need to worry too much about the milk.

I do not need to prove a positive. I merely need to point out the fact that because someone was right once, a hundred years or more ago, doesn't mean they are right now. They may be. They may be partly right. They may be entirely wrong. Who knows? What we do know is that it is a fallacy to argue that because they were right once, they are right all the time. Even if they are right all the time or wrong all the time or any position in between.

Is anyone arguing that the FDA doesn't need to be reformed (besides the FDA)?

There are certainly many calls for it to be abolished. But I don't not recall many defenders of the status quo, aside generic counter-arguments in reaction to the abolitionists.

Interesting question about rickets. I would not be so quick to assume we are no longer in need of food additive fortification. It's just ubiquitous now, so you could perhaps pull one source without fear. But if we removed all food fortification everyone would have to live solely on processed carbos and saturated fats.

(Also people probably consume a lot more dairy overall perhaps, what with american cheese slices, yogurt pops, and pizza?)

"will call it the King George III fallacy. Because someone's ancestor allegedly pulled a sword from the stone everyone has to obey his 19th generation descendent?"

"Kings are by God appointed
And damned are those who dare resist or touch the Lord's anointed!"

George was King by Act of Parliament, not by some hoo-ha with a sword or some superstition about an old fascist in the sky.

It is not that simple. He was, according to Wikipedia, "By the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg" the same way our Pedro (Peter) I was "Emperor of Brazil by the grace of God and general acclamation of the peoples".

I support vitamins for milk-drinking children.

And from the WSJ ... markets in everything. I supposed to be labeled "Product Of Brazil".

"APODI, Brazil—The dependable donkey once did it all here in northeast Brazil .... Now ... they have become a problem—and for some, an opportunity.

Enter China, where soaring demand for protein has put donkey meat on the menu. But Chinese consumers hanker after more than just the meat. They also have a growing craving for ejiao, a gelatinous substance made from boiled donkey hides, which is said to boost health, reverse aging and serve as an aphrodisiac.

Brazil, with 1 million donkeys and world-class slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants, is now looking to cash in."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/brazil-debates-fate-of-millions-of-idled-donkeys-1523098801

Brazil is the home of the biggest protein-selling company the world has ever seen. The Sun has set over Chicago's slaughterhouses. Now, thanks to deliberate, thoughtful industrial policy, Brazil rules the meat market.

lol is that JBS?

Those creeps lobbied relentlessly the US to allow beef imports again, and then could't last a year without getting implicated in a massive bribery and inspection-corruption scandal.

I am glad to report that Brazilians eat Brazilian meat and are pretty health, thank you. As for the minor irregularities reported, there is no reason for panic whatsoever: the proper authorities are investigating the situation in the most diligent and thoughtful way. No stone will remain unturned until they get to the bottom of this case and the guilty parts are sternly punished.

lol no stone unturned.

Yeah, when I think of independent investigations of high level government authorities and oligarch family dynasties, I think Brazil.

To be fair, they actually did put one of the brothers in jail. at least for a little while.

but "minor irregularirites"? hardly.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/22/news/economy/brazil-meat-scandal/index.html

http://fortune.com/2017/09/14/jbs-batista-brazil-temer-corruption-insider-trading/

Both tycoon siblings and their right-hand man spent time before bars. Their company was saddled with a 11-billion fine. Their cooperation oact with the authorities has been rescinded as they were found commiting omissions. They are under federal investigation. As we say, in Brazil, the law is for everyone. Former president and king-maker Lula is now behind bars. Meanwhile, Trump has promisse to lock Clinton up. Has he delivered?

* behind bars

Yes as I acknowledged, this investigation had some teeth. Which makes me wonder (1) the crimes must have been pretty damned bad, and (2) there must be a competing dynasty seeking to unseat the Bartistas.

I was reacting to your use of the term "minor irregularities." Were you joking?

"(1) the crimes must have been pretty damned bad"
As I said, in Brazil, the law is above everyone. "Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus i"

The meat-crimes were relatively minor. The corrupt dealings involving public money allocations are somewhat more serious, but they are under strict federal investigation. Hundreds of businessmen, governors, congressmen, Evangelicals, lobbysts, etc have been jailed.

As for Trump vs Clinton. One unwritten rule that the American political elite still honor is that they do not put each other in jail. With very limited exceptions. There is honor among thieves after all.

If you start seeing politicians putting each other in jail, that probably indicate either (1) genuine reform movement, or more likely (2) descent into overt fascism.

Indeed. Since our food processing system has created food that is devoid of nutrition, we should inject some nutrition back in.

FWIW, the reason we have vitamin fortified food is because the military become alarmed with the poor health of its recruits earlier in the 20th century.

Yes. Food should nourish people.

"Brazil, with 1 million donkeys and world-class slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants, is now looking to cash in.""

Is that what Brazil has become? A land where the hard working servants are slaughtered and fed to the Chinese masters.

The solution is simple:
We should follow the lead of
China.

That was uncalled for. Some of their food does not contain lead.

Am I the only one who has the impression that Tabarrok prefers an economy in which everyone is a solo barber. I suppose I am a conservative since I prefer order and stability. Disruption and chaos is fine in theory but not so fine in practice. What Tabarrok doesn't appreciate is that agencies like the FDA protect us from two types of contagion: unsafe and ineffectual products and hysteria. Tabarrok's posts about FDA outrage are like the "fake news" tweets by Mr. Trump.

I think Alex's problem is that he doesn't focus on what the real problems are and what solutions should be implemented when it comes to regulation. For example, trade associations typically seek to have a federal or state regulatory agency prescribe the specific feature a product must incorporate in order to be deemed compliant, or specify a a test which needs to be performed when it doesn't really apply to a new product. That problem can be overcome very simply: specify the results that have to be achieved, not the method or product for doing it. If Alex focused on this problem, and not the silliness above, he would actually be doing something worthwhile.

Indeed. Any time I read a story about an FDA regulating some poor small producer out of business, I immediately wonder which large producer is behind it. Inevitably, regulatory bodies such as the FDA have become captive enforcers of barriers to entry in service of the cabal of large incumbents.

My impression is that Dr. Tabarrok feels compelled to post. So, stuff like this gets posted.

I am not a libertarian. Most libertarians I know (I like them as persons) are young, bright men: friends of my adult sons. Many of them are deficient in background and context over their beliefs. In that respect, libertarians can be almost as bad as liberals.

The American government has taken on a great deal of power for itself - like many Western governments. When it comes to food I am not sure that it uses those powers wisely or in the interests of the consumer. How much pork needs to be in a pork sausage before it can call itself a pork sausage? Most people might think 100%. Can a sausage be 25%, to use an example here already, donkey and still be called beef?

Michael Pollan is interesting talking about the way the government and the larger food companies have worked to take over terms like organic once they become popular. I would not trust the FDA as far as I could comfortably spit a rat.

Technically, the large food producers have taken the power for themselves, using the government as their proxy.

The need for eternal vigilance remains. The minute you think you can rest assured what a food label meaning entails, you can bet that a lobbyist somewhere is working to undermine it to the point that it becomes a simulacra of itself.

The USDA is even worse than the FDA.

Some packaged beef is marketed as "Angus Beef". Does this mean that every one of the cattle slaughtered is a registered Angus? Are cattle of mixed Angus and other breeds included? Or is the beef raised by a farmer named Angus? Or in this case is the appellation "Angus" simply a trade name that has no reference to the breed of cow?

The Angus appellation is a good example of a fairly meaningless marketing label claim. However there is indeed a set of requirements behind it, related to breed and quality grade characteristics, but they are hardly rigorous.

The case of Angus beef is instructive of the complexity in food labeling. Beef producers certainly have a right to carve out breed and quality niche for themselves and protect that claim from imitators and bottom feeders. Which is essentially a trademark action.

If the boundaries of the claim are loose and meaningless (as opposed to say french wine regional rules) then that's the consumer's problem.

But issues raised include why is the USDA enforcing this claim. As well as the same producers vigorously oppose country of origin labeling (because they are importers) and they also destroyed the grass fed beef label claim (because they are grain finishers).

Fun act: the term grass fed is meaningless unless it is grass finished. And most imported grass finished beef is imported as frozen primals (although it says product of usa on the label) and much of it is from retired dairy cows, not from beef breeds raised for meat

"Why yes, the FDA is subject to the laws passed by Congress"

...But no, the FDA is somehow not subject to the fundamental law of the U.S. Constitution -- or it would not exist at all.

The problem with the growth of Administrative law is that the Alphabet Soup swamp dwellers have enormous powers to, for all intents and purposes, pass laws with no over sight at all. This is made worse by flagrantly wrong policies like getting your friends to sue you and then to deliberately throw the case so the Court can force you to do what you wanted to do all along.

How much supervision do these Alphabet Agencies really get? Sure they can't invade Panama on their own, but they can certainly drive hundreds of people out of business on a whim - and pollute major rivers.

Off topic but interesting - forget the FDA! The replication crisis is not just for Philosophy majors. It is hitting useful subjects now:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/04/04/adult-neurogenesis-a-pointed-review/

If true, this is big. Even very big.

Re So Much.

You seem to be about halfway there. You are almost able to recognize that regulatory agencies like the FDA have become proxies for large producers, but you seem unable to fully appreciate where the power lies in this situation.

You seem to very strongly wish to keep blaming the government as if it operates in a vacuum reacting solely to the motivations of overzealous bureaucrats, implying that the solution rests with limiting government power which will magically solve the problem, rather than recognizing the problem lies with the corporate power that pulls the strings.

Try this exercise: stop referring to the FDA as "the government" and instead think of it as a private police force employed by large food producers.

When the mafia sends thugs in to shake down small business owners for protection, the cops don't just arrest the thugs, they go after the bosses.

'the FDA is somehow not subject to the fundamental law of the U.S. Constitution'

You mean that Congress is not allowed to use the enumerated power of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3?

Why not?

That's why if I only raise cows in a single state and sell milk to my neighbors and friends in exempt from FDA regulations right? The interstate commerce clause meaningless after Wickard.

If you want to get lathered up into raging anti regulatory zeal, study up on the raw dairy and cow shares movement.

The FDA/USDAs posture is that consumers should not be allowed to consume unpasteurized milk even knowingly. And they have a track record of enforcing this using SWAT teams in ways indistinguishable from raiding meth labs.

And while this policy is sold under the public health authority justification, what it is really about is of course both smothering challenges to the fundamental control of the system as well as enforcing the major player's control over processing.

If you study food industry you realize that the choke point is processing. Which is where the big firms get rich while crushing the small producers.

This set up relies on strict processing regulations for two reasons: one it is expensive and so conveniently becomes a barrier to entry, and also, corporate processing methods are inherently unsafe due to cutting corners and crowding, so the system requires intense regulation and techniques like ultra pasteurization to protect them from themselves.

'That's why if I only raise cows in a single state and sell milk to my neighbors and friends'

I'm guessing you did not read Prof. Tabarrok's link to the Florida case - 'State officials under Adam Putnam’s Department of Agriculture had pushed to label the dairy’s skim milk as imitation, because vitamins aren’t added to it, according to the Associated Press.

The state defines skim milk as having Vitamin A. Ocheesee, an all-natural dairy that doesn’t add ingredients to natural products, objected.' Notice that the FDA was not involved, nor was interstate commerce it seems, as the definition was Florida's, not the FDA's.

As you know, but find superfluous -- the enumerated power of the "Commerce Clause" does not authorize the FDA or anything even remotely like it. Thus, your coy emphasis on "law" is standard leftish subterfuge.

That constitutional text and its historical origin are quite clear in meaning.

"Commerce" is trade, the buying & selling of goods -- not any and all economic & social intercourse among humans..... and certainly not Federal control of food/drugs and direct prohibitions/permissions of their use by individual American citizens. The 18th Century term "regulate" means: make regular, uniform, efficient. Commerce Clause was solely and indisputably implemented to facilitate trade among the states and eliminate destructive interstate tariffs on trade goods.

'the buying & selling of goods'

Well, that seems to cover skim milk.

'make regular, uniform, efficient'

Well, that certainly would seem to apply to the labelling and requirements for something being called skim milk.

"Imitation"? Someone at FDA has lost their sense. Skim milk has a long history of being the milk that remains after separating the cream. And that was returned to the dairy for use as in feed.

"Unadulterated" might be a better adjective.

And how does the FDA explain that all milk would then be "imitation" as the dairy separates all the cream from the milk, leaving skim milk. Then they add in cream to produce the various "skim", "2%, "whole" milk products, as well as the various creams with varying percentages of fat by adding skim milk. Modern buttermilk being, not the milk expressed while working the butter, but a cultured product.

Skim Milk, without government mandated addition of vitamins in excess of that naturally in the milk.

I have an idea that would be permitted by
Alex's definition of skim milk:
Take a gallon of whole 4% milk,
And
A gallon of pure DC water.
Voilla! 1% Skim Milk

Why do they want to call it "skim milk" anyway? Isn't it to get consumers who buy skim milk - it's a mystery to me why anyone does - to buy their product?

So they want whatever marketing value calling it skim milk brings, but do not want to have to make it contain what skim milk ordinarily contains - added vitamins.

Suppose they called it "fat-free milk," and put "No vitamins added" on the label.

'Skim Milk' does not contain those vitamins. That's the whole point. The FDA thinks it would be a good thing if skim milk DID have the vitams lost in the skimming process, but they don't have the authority to mandate the content of a product. So instead they are using labelling to force milk producers to add something to skim milk that the FDA wants added, or they won't let them call it 'skim milk', despite the fact that it IS skim milk.

This is why there is a first amendment challenge. The FDA appears to be interfering in the speech of this company to force them to do something they aren't statutorily required to do. There is no claim here that calling 'skim milk' skim milk is fraudulent or misleading, which is the FDA's mandate for labelling laws.

Besides, there was already an established pattern for labelling foods with vitamins added. That would be 'fortified skim milk'. The FDA just doesn't like that, because they think skim milk should have vitamins that skim milk actually doesn't have, so they want to remove the distinction and just force fortifying on the industry through the back door of labelling laws.

For the record, the dairy industry has built their marketing around the idea that skim milk is healthy because it is low fat and also has nutritional value (which is added). This is wonderful for them since the milk is essentially a byproduct, and so the added vitamins turns it into a nutritional (low fat) and healthy (vitamin d) diet staple right there as a foundation in the food pyramid.

Winning!

https://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/content/2015/low-fat-milk-is-a-healthy-choice

That's the whole point. The FDA thinks it would be a good thing if skim milk DID have the vitamins lost in the skimming process, but they don't have the authority to mandate the content of a product. So instead they are using labelling to force milk producers to add something to skim milk that the FDA wants added, or they won't let them call it 'skim milk', despite the fact that it IS skim milk.

But that's the whole point. By saying that it is skim milk you are begging the question. The issue is simple.

Is "skim milk" any milk with the fat removed, or is it milk with the fat removed and vitamins lost in the process restored? The vast majority, I guess almost all, of skim milk sold is the latter, and that is what consumers expect. So calling something skim milk that doesn't have those additives is, in the real world - not libertarian fantasyland - deceptive labelling.

And, I repeat, it is unnecessary for an honest vendor. It's fat-free milk, with no vitamins added. Why won't they, quite accurately, call it that?

You mean Milkwater®?

Or are you talking about Diet Cow Juice®?

I decided not to be too cynical today. Otherwise I would have raised the idea that perhaps the dairy industry simply wants to get a piece of the almond milk action. (i.e. what is almond milk? well, it is NOT almonds and it is NOT milk...)

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-almond-milk-is-basically-a-scam-2015-4

Or they could just require to have the percentage milk fat in large numbers.

1%, 2%, 3.25% ... 0%.

I support vitamins for milk-drinking children.

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