Kentucky bill proposes milk labeling rules

Local News

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) A Daviess County lawmaker files a bill setting rules on a staple in refrigerators across the commonwealth.

It’s focused on what can and cannot be called milk.

There are cows on John Kuegel’s farm in Daviess County that will soon be used to make milk.

“Cows produce milk, that milk is processed, it’s natural and we get it off the shelves that comes from family farms all over the country,” he says.

But not every type of milk comes from cows. Kuegel says non dairy milks are not the same.

“There’s a plant that’s harvested, it’s taken to a manufacturing facility somewhere, they add a lot of ingredients to it that make it similar to milk, but it’s just a replacement beverage. It’s not the real thing.”

State Senator Matt Castlen. R-Daviess County, filed a bill last week where for an item to be called milk, it must come from an animal, including cows, goats, yaks and even water buffalo. He says he filed it to let shoppers better understand where the products come from.

“It protects the consumer is the main source. It lets the consumer know exactly what is in the product they are drinking and to make sure the labeling matches up with the product is,” he said.

“We want the public to know what they consume. If they want an almond beverage, they can say it’s an almond breakfast beverage or they can call is almond juice. But it’s not milk,” Kuegel adds.

The bill also comes at a time when fewer people are drinking dairy milk. Statistics from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture show the amount of milk people drink a year has dropped since the mid-1970s. Similar bills have been brought up in other states including North Carolina, Virginia and Louisiana.

Castlen also says he doesn’t want the bill to hurt companies that make almond, soy or other non-dairy milks, adding those products are also important to the agriculture industry.

You can read the whole bill here.

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(This story was originally published on January 15, 2020)

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