A small, all-natural dairy isn't being deceptive when it calls its skim milk "skim milk," a federal appeals court ruled Monday in a victory for the creamery that's fighting the state's demand to label the product "imitation" because vitamins aren't added to it, reports the AP. The ruling overturns a decision last March when a federal judge sided with the Florida Department of Agriculture, which said the Ocheesee Creamery couldn't label it's skim milk "skim milk" because the state defines the product as skim milk with Vitamin A added. The state instead said that if the creamery wanted to sell the product, it should label it as "imitation" skim milk. But that didn't sit well with a dairy whose whole philosophy is not to add ingredients to natural products.
The three-judge panel said "the State was unable to show that forbidding the Creamery from using the term 'skim milk' was reasonable" and also disregarded far less restrictive and more precise ways of labeling the product, "for example, allowing skim milk to be called what it is and merely requiring a disclosure that it lacks vitamin A." The creamery has offered to put on its label that it doesn't add vitamins to the product, but the state hasn't accepted the compromise. The dictionary definition of skim milk is simply milk with the cream removed. But the Department of Agriculture says under state and federal law, skim milk can't be sold as skim milk unless vitamins in the milk fat are replaced so it has the same nutritional value as whole milk. (Read more milk stories.)