4/7/16 Skim Milk

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The Florida Department of Agriculture sent Mary Lou Wesselhoeft a letter.  Your dairy farm must immediately stop selling your product labeled as skim milk, it told her.  Or rename it an imitation milk product.

[Specifically, Wesselhoeft was ordered to rename her product as “Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed.”]

Wesselhoeft saw this as a free speech issue.  So she sued the Department of Ag.  And lost.  A federal judge agreed with the state bureaucrats.  She can’t sell her product labeled as skim milk.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

There’s only one ingredient in Wesselhoeft’s product: skim milk.  But in order to meet the state regulators’ demand Wesselhoeft would have to add artificial Vitamin A to the otherwise all-natural skim milk.

[The judge ruled that labeling her all-natural skim milk as “skim milk” constitutes a “frontal assault” on the ability of government regulators to “create a standard meaning of a term.”]

[In a letter, Mary Lou Wesselhoeft suggested several compromises that would allow her to sell the skim milk with labels such as “Pasteurized Skim Milk No Vitamin A Added” but the Agriculture Department denied her request.]

This is a page torn from George Orwell’s book 1984.  Facts and reality are not truth. Officials at the Ministry of Truth decide what is truth.  Up is down.  Black is white.  Night is day.

This is what happens when government gets too big.  And too powerful.  Government bureaucrats fabricate reality and issue head-scratching rules that harm the public.

The other important point is that judicial appointments do matter.   Bad judges enforce bad law.

Government officials — who have powerful control over people’s lives — have left the Highway of Sanity and are driving down Crazy Lane.

Public interest law firm the Institute for Justice is representing Mary Lou Wesselhoeft.  They will likely take this case all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

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