Some dairy farmers would rather you call it "nut juice" than almond milk

Illustration for article titled Some dairy farmers would rather you call it "nut juice" than almond milk
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We humbly submit, for consideration in the lede hall of fame, this gem from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Al Overland is not saying you should refer to almond milk as nut juice. He’s also not saying you shouldn’t.

“I’ve heard it called that,” said Overland, a dairy farmer near Sturgeon Lake, Minn. “They can call it juice or beverage, or whatever they wish, but we just don’t want them to call it milk.”


To catch you up/provide context: Dairy farmers don’t want nut milks to be called milk. Things aren’t great in the dairy industry—trade wars, decline in demand, industry turmoil, etc.—and they’d prefer that the nut juices get out of their word turf, thank you very much. The dairy folks aren’t the only ones: The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association also objects to “plant-based meats” being called meat.

The Food And Drug Administration has been considering changes to its existing guidelines concerning the labelling of plant-based products for some time; per the Star-Tribune, a “four-month public comment period closed at the end of January,” after some 8,600 comments were logged. The dairy lobby’s argument is essentially that nuts can’t be milked, and that milk should be milk. Plant-based groups say “the objections are much ado about nothing.”

Part of the trouble is that milk has a federal “standard of identity,” which states that milk can be defined as “the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.” There’s no equivalent for plant-based products, which are considered “nonstandardized foods.”

Trust me on this: The full Star-Tribune article is worth a read. It draws a line from this conflict to the debate that took place from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th over the classification of butter. But in short, the F.D.A. will be making a decision at some point, though there’s no set date for a decision. Accordingly, you should expect to hear the words “nut juice” a lot more frequently. For the second time today, we suggest you clicking on the Star-Tribune’s site and to suppo local journalism.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!


Dr. Boots' List

Nut milks have been called milk all the way back to proto-Indo-European languages, dating back about three millennia. Dairy farmers are greedy assholes who get fat sucking on the teat of massive government subsidies and then whining about having to compete for market share.

I’m not saying that “dairy milk” should be more properly labeled “cow colostrum”, but I’m not saying it shouldn’t either.