“If you give a Mouse a Cookie….
“He’s going to ask for a glass of milk.”
But what kind of milk? Dairy? Soy? Almond? Goat? Coconut?
This is reaching the absurd level. National Milk now says it’s okay to use the word “milk” as long as you also use the word “imitation” in describing a non-dairy product. No word from Jim Mulhern whether this also applies to his own association. It would be awkward in the extreme if he were held to a similar standard and be forced to say NMPF was not just a trade organization, but was an ineffective “imitation” trade organization.
Seriously, after millions of dollars of their members’ money for lobbying in a years’ long, failed effort to redefine the word milk, the National Milk Producers appear to be throwing in the towel.
Mulhern & Co. has just filed a petition with the FDA demanding that soymilk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, et al, be labeled as “imitation milk.” Quite the turnaround from years demanding the word “milk” should be for the exclusive use of its members.
What is truly amazing is that NMPF has chosen to do this just after the FDA’s comment period on milk labeling has just ended and at a time when the FDA has not even reviewed all of the comments. Yet Mulhern is already trying to lower expectations and negotiate. This is not the action of someone who is dealing from a position of strength — or a full deck of cards. It’s the reaction of a guy trying to keep his job.
Remember, Mulhern and the NMPF have waged a two year campaign to BAN the word milk from the above mentioned products, … now he’s willing to cop a plea before FDA issues sentencing on his case.
Ironically, just weeks ago, NMPF was holding firm: it was the DAIRY Pride Act or bust, saying “fake milk products” can no longer be allowed to “identify themselves in ways that imply dairy equivalence” and that “use of the word milk must be limited to the lacteal secretions of a bovine.
Now? Uh, … well, … not so much. Now they are saying go ahead and keep the word milk on the label … just find room on the package to put the word “imitation.”
How about some “imitation” leadership on this “imitation” issue from Mulhern’s “imitation” lobbying group? Don’t hold your breath.
NMPF was asked in a recent press scrum if “goat milk” should be labeled as “imitation” since it is the lacteal secretion of a NON-bovine, and using the word “milk” would thus violate the dairy standards of identity that NMPF has spent millions to try to enforce. Someone’s been reading our blog, haven’t you Mulhern? The status of goat milk is near and dear to us at Udder Stupidity (see here and here).
Their backpedaling answer: Oh, well, on second thought, it’s OK to use the word milk as long as it is identified by “species” – which raises another interesting conundrum – the definition of a soybean: Glycine max is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean, which has numerous uses, such as soymilk, and — evidently –nuts.
See where the idiocy of defining common words leads? Soy is a bean. Or is it a legume? Or is it a nut? Or is it the main ingredient in soy milk? All we can say to the milk producers is that we wouldn’t recommend you attempt to “milk” soynuts – those little suckers can get nasty when you try.
Hard to see how the NMPF could come up with a more stupid strategy, but they continue to amaze and surprise.
Got milk? Want a cookie?