UPDATE: On December 20, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision in Painter v Blue Diamond. Almond milk is not “imitation milk” and reasonable consumers are not deceived.
The dairy industry believes that soy and almond milk makers should be censored from calling their products what they are, soymilk and almond milk. The industry’s argument is that use of the word milk is confusing to consumers or that all milks need to be exactly the same nutritionally or else be called “imitation milk.”
Big Dairy was already handed a resounding defeat in federal court, with Judge Stephen V. Wilson declaring last year that “no reasonable consumer could be misled” by almond milk labels and also that “even the least sophisticated consumer would know instantly the type of product they are purchasing.”
But plaintiffs’ lawyers came back with the same tired trope, requiring the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to smack down the industry’s ridiculous arguments yet again, in Painter v. Blue Diamond.
GFI lawyers weighed in to defend the free speech of plant-based companies. Explains GFI’s attorney Nigel Barrella, ” The dairy industry’s argument is not just an absurd distortion of the law, but it also would violate the First Amendment. Food producers have free speech rights too, and the government cannot force them to use vague and derogatory names like ‘imitation milk.'”