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Tim Wiederaenders: Do almonds lactate? Lawmakers are milking their time at state capitol

March 4, 2019

Our lawmakers in Phoenix are at it again — being too literal, at a minimum; or wasting time in general.

Members of the House voted Wednesday to prohibit the sale of “almond milk’” in Arizona — get this! — because almonds don’t lactate.

Consumers could still buy those products, but under the terms of House Bill 2604 it would have to be labeled as “fake milk” or “alternative milk.” And there would have to be a “prominent statement” on the package that the product is made from plants, grown in a laboratory or other similar disclosure. The legislation was crafted by Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, who also proposes a similar restriction on the word “meat,” saying that word could be used only if what is in the package came from what had once been a living, breathing animal.

My question is … why?

The only explanation available to me is it’s aimed at efforts to create animal cells in a laboratory that, once they prove commercially viable, could be marketed to consumers, he told Capitol Media Services. Cook is a rancher and he makes no secret of his desire to protect his industry against those who would seek to replace something from a steer with something from a test tube.

Again, why? Why are we wasting our time with this, lawmakers? Protect the unknowing masses from non-meat, test-tube grown products. But almonds?

“I believe that words matter,’’ Cook said. “All I’m saying is when you walk up and use simple words like ‘milk,’ we should know what that’s from. Almonds do not lactate.”

Want to be literal? Yes, the definition of milk is “a whitish liquid containing proteins, fats, lactose, and various vitamins and minerals that is produced by the mammary glands of all mature female mammals …”

It also is “various potable liquids resembling milk, such as coconut milk, soymilk, almond milk …” The process of milking is to “draw or extract the liquid form,” such as is done with almonds.

Rep. Cook, have you ever made almond milk? I have.

Where does this stop? What about veggie burgers? How about peanut butter? My objection is simple: while fentanyl dealers here push drugs that can kill — and get off with probation (unlike meth dealers who have a mandatory sentence) – lawmakers are diddling around with “what is meat?” and almonds don’t lactate?!

Tim Wiederaenders is a former Lake Havasu City resident and editor of the Prescott Daily Courier.