Legislation that would have forbidden non-dairy-based beverages to be called “milk” in Virginia has been vetoed by Gov. Ralph Northam.
The bill, which passed the state Senate on Feb. 27, would have forbidden any product not derived from a hoofed mammal from using the term “milk.” It would not have taken effect unless 11 other states in the Southern Dairy Compact, an industry association, passed similar legislation.
In a brief veto message, Northam wrote, “Eliminating the ability to label certain food products with the term ‘milk’ could hinder some businesses’ ability to thrive in Virginia. This bill likely conflicts with both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Virginia and each’s protection of commercial speech.”