Got milk? Virginia weighs redefining milk as ‘dairy only’

If you’ve had breakfast cereal or coffee lately, you know there are a lot of milk choices — too many, according to some.

With the recent influx of almond, soy and other plant-based milks available to consumers, Virginia’s dairy farmers have been struggling.

Lawmakers in Richmond are now considering a bill that would restrict the use of the word “milk” for nondairy drinks.

Under House Bill 619, introduced by Virginia Beach Del. Barry Knight, milk would be defined as “lacteal secretion … obtained by the complete milking of a healthy hooved [sic] mammal.”

Not just from cows, though — milk could come from water buffalo, sheep, goats, yaks, deer, reindeer, moose, horses and donkeys.

The plant-based food industry has fought — and won, on First Amendment grounds — attempts in other states to limit what could be called burgers and dogs.

Even if Virginia were to pass the bill to limit what could be called milk, it likely wouldn’t go into effect quickly. An amendment to Bill 619 requires that 11 of 14 other states pass similar bills, before the Virginia bill would be enacted.

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