Goodbye almond milk, hello nut beverage? Lawmakers advance milk labeling bill.

Goodbye almond milk, hello nut beverage? Lawmakers advance milk labeling bill.
Cows (Source: Alison Durheim)

Virginia Beach Del. Barry Knight’s milk bill cleared its first hurdle Wednesday afternoon when the House Agriculture Subcommittee voted 7-1 to pass it on for consideration to the larger Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.

The measure, which defines milk as “the lacteal secretion, practically free of colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of a healthy hooved mammal,” has sparked some mockery from online commenters, but defenders say it’s a way to correct mislabeling that the federal Food and Drug Administration has failed to address.

Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Loudoun, who is chairing the subcommittee, voiced some tentative reservations about the bill’s necessity early in the discussion.

“There are, of course, uses of the word ‘milk’ traditionally in our language for other than dairy milk, hooved animal milk — things like milk of magnesia, and then we have body butter and things like this,” she said. “I wonder if there’s a way to use the word ‘dairy’ instead of remove the word ‘milk’?”

Knight, however, stuck to the bill’s existing wording for the purposes of uniformity with potential legislation by other states: an amendment he added would tie the enactment of Virginia legislation to enactment of the same or similar bill by 11 of 14 largely southern states by Oct. 1, 2029.

The bill has already been passed in Maryland and North Carolina.

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