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As I See It

Got milk? Only if it came from a cow

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What is milk? It seems a simple question. With a simple answer. Milk is what we get from lactating cows, and it is big business in Wisconsin. You know, the Dairy State. But it seems, at least according to the Food and Drug Administration, the answer isn’t so simple. To that federal agency, milk currently is more than just what comes from cows. Milk can also come from plants. Visit the milk aisle at any grocery store and you will find cow’s milk, but also soy milk, almond milk and rice milk among others. The FDA has allowed makers of these products to label them as milk. But maybe not for much longer. The commissioner of the agency confirms he plans to begin cracking down on makers of those products labeled as milk which don’t come from cows. The agency has long defined milk as being an animal-based product, but that has not been enforced. Now the FDA says only milk will be allowed to call itself milk. A federal hearing will be held on the issue later this month. That is good news for Wisconsin dairy farmers. Milk sales have been in decline for years, as more kids drink energy drinks and electrolytes. Wisconsin continues to lose dairy farms at an alarming rate. Wisconsin lost 500 dairy farms last year, and already nearly 350 more already this year. It is good that the FDA will insist that when you’ve “got milk” it will actually have come from a cow.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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