Back on December 16, I wrote about bills (HB119 and SB510), by two right-wing Republicans and corporate tools (Del. Barry Knight, Sen. Bryce Reeves), which – astoundingly – would prohibit use of the word “milk” to describe almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, etc. Hell, I’m surprised they didn’t try to outlaw the word “milkweed,” or maybe using “milk” in “Milk of Magnesia” or whatever.
Unfortunately, this bill’s no joke, but a serious assault by the dairy industry on a rising competitor (namely, plant-based milks, which are growing in popularity for environmental, animal welfare, health and taste reasons). It’s also a classic case of corporate “copycat legislation” suddenly, magically appearing in states across America. And needless to say, no Virginia Democrat – or any Republican who supports the First Amendment or the “free market” – should ever support “udder” bulls*** like this. To the contrary, we should all be having a “cow” over it.
Bottom line: there are so many good reasons to oppose this ridiculous, unconstitutional “Label Censorship Bill” (see below for a fact sheet from the Good Food Institute, which “focus[es] on clean meat and plant-based alternatives to animal products—foods that are more delicious, safer to eat, and better for the planet than their outdated counterparts”) it’s just absurd it’s not just being laughed out of the Democratic-controlled House of Delegates.
Instead, astoundingly, HB119 actually *passed* the House Agriculture committee yesterday on a 12-10, mostly party-line vote (nine Republicans, plus three Democrats – Delegates Wendy Gooditis, Mark Keam and Roslyn Tyler – voted yes, with ten Democrats voting no). Apparently, none of these folks read the Good Food Institute fact sheet, which explains that:
- “Consumers are not confused,” and that “Courts have thrown out lawsuits alleging that consumers are misled by plant-based foods”
- “HB 119 & SB 510 Are Solutions In Search of a Problem”
- “Virginia should not favor one industry over another. Instead, as long as producers continue to clearly
communicate with consumers, the market, not the government, should pick winners and losers.”
- “HB 119 & SB 510 Are Unconstitutional” – “Producers have a First Amendment right to describe their products in a clear manner consistent with consumer expectations”; “Last month, a federal court put Arkansas’ label censorship law — which sought to limit usage of meat terms on plant-based food labels — on hold because it likely violates the First Amendment. Turtle Island Foods v. Soman, Civ. No. 4:19-514. “
Other than that, great bill! LOL Seriously, though, can the State Senate and/or House of Delegates PLEASE kill this horse’s-ass bill? It might seem funny, but in fact it’s anything but a-moo-sing when powerful, incumbent corporate interests try to write the laws, particularly when it’s in a way that’s aimed at harming consumers, the environment, animal welfare, etc, etc.!