Court Rules Skim Milk Isn't 'Skim Milk' in Case in which I Served as Expert

A federal judge ruled earlier this month that Florida's Ocheesee Creamery cannot market its skim milk as skim milk, even though that skim milk contains exactly one ingredient: skim milk.

I served as an expert witness in support of Ocheesee and its customers. As an expert, I spent several hours testifying in a deposition administered by the State of Florida's lawyers. I also drafted an expert report describing how Florida's mandated standard of identity for skim milk does not serve the interests of consumers in the state and tends to mislead consumers. My role as an expert in the case was chiefly, as I describe in my expert report, "to discuss whether or not, in my opinion, consumers would tend to be misled by the labels at issue in this case."

Ultimately, the key First Amendment case centers on whether the government can use Orwellian logic to redefine the meaning of a traditional food like skim milk, and whether the government may force food makers to adopt a deceptive standard of identity and compel those same food makers to repeat that state-mandated deception time and again on their food labels.

The case was brought by the Institute for Justice on behalf of the creamery. IJ said it expects to appeal the case.

You can learn more about the case in my latest Reason column. The case is also one I focus on in my forthcoming book Biting the Hands that Feed Us (which, as I've noted, is now available for pre-order on Amazon).