Fight over definition of skim milk allowed to proceed in federal court

Written by Rachel McDevitt, All Things Considered Host | Apr 4, 2019 6:56 PM

FILE: Randy Sowers stands outside the capitol complex, across the street from the federal courthouse in Harrisburg. (Photo: Rachel McDevitt/WITF)

(Harrisburg) -- A federal judge in Pennsylvania is allowing a lawsuit over the definition of skim milk to go forward.

Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers wants to sell just milk with the fatty cream skimmed off. But the Food and Drug Administration says, to sell across state lines, he can't call his product skim milk unless he adds vitamins A and D. He'd have to call it "imitation skim milk."

Sowers is suing the FDA over that rule, claiming that label will hurt his business.

U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane denied the FDA's motion to dismiss the suit, clearing the way for further arguments.

Sowers is represented by the Institute for Justice, which won a similar case in Florida two years ago.

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