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Plant-based food company Miyoko sues state of California over using term ‘butter’

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California's DF&A says a product cannot be called Butter unless it is made exclusively from milk. But, there are lots of non-dairy products with Butter in their names: peanut butter, cocoa butter, etc.

JOHN RAMOS: ‘At Miyoko’s Creamery in Petaluma, they’re producing butter and cheese from plants. But according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, that’s not what they’re doing at all. Miyoko Schinner is on a roll. Her company turns cashews, oats and legumes into items that taste just like dairy products. Her best-selling vegan butter just got picked up by Costco and her company is doubling in sales each year.

So she was surprised when she got a letter from the Department of Food and Agriculture saying she should stop calling her vegan butter butter… The letter says a product cannot be called butter unless it is made exclusively from milk or cream… it says Miyoko’s packaging for her “Cultured Vegan Butter” is creating an “erroneous impression” with consumers… Actually, there are lots of non-dairy products with “butter” in their names: peanut butter, almond butter, cocoa butter, body butter…

But the letter doesn’t stop there. It also says the company must remove a website picture of a woman hugging a cow because it implies that’s where the product came from. Miyoko believes this is simply a government agency trying to protect an industry that feels threatened by change…

“When I saw that letter I actually burst out laughing,” Miyoko said… “I don’t think there’s a single confused consumer out there,” Miyoko said. “No more than a consumer is confused when they order almond milk. They know it’s not dairy milk. In fact, they’re ordering almond milk because they don’t want dairy milk”… So far, Miyoko’s hasn’t changed their packaging, instead filing a lawsuit against the state for violation of freedom of speech’.  SOURCE…

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