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Proposed bill would restrict what can be called 'milk'

Posted at 6:17 AM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 06:17:18-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A trip to the grocery store right now could turn up several options when searching for milk.

Dairy, oat, almond, soy are just a few products labeled as "milk."

But a new bill proposed by state Sen. Matt Castlen would limit the use of "milk" to refer only to products that come from "hooved mammals," such as cows and goats.

Many in the dairy industry support the bill, but some say the distinction is unnecessary.

The term is misleading when used to refer to what are commonly known as "milk alternatives," according to dairy industry leaders.

"It's just mislabeled," said H.H. Barlow, Executive Director of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council. "That's my concern. That's the whole thing. It's a labeling issue."

In a hurting dairy industry, Barlow said he wants to avoid any possible confusion.

"We're trying to do everything that we can to improve the potential that dairy farmers in Kentucky can stay in business and become a profitable entity," he said.

Alternatives are almost as popular as cow's milk at Common Grounds Coffee House, according to barista Nari Kham.

"Usually people go for almond milk. More recently a lot more people have been asking about oat milk," she said.

In her opinion, it's a good thing when people choose non-animal products and she doesn't think a change in name would stop people from ordering them.

"I think a lot more people are being more conscious of the choices they're making," she said.

The bill has not yet been discussed in committee.