01. April 2013 · Comments Off on Let the Buyer Beware · Categories: Web Site Examples · Tags:

Today my client The Investor Advocate posted a remembrance of the great legal journalist Anthony Lewis, who died a week ago today. As a young man Lewis was greatly influenced by Justice Harlan Fiske Stone’s footnote to his opinion in U.S. v. Carolene Products Co., decided in 1938. You can read the details as they relate to Lewis in the post.

My job was to find an image to go with the post so I started by searching for anything related to the court case.

About 1916 Carolene Products was selling milk in cans called Milnut, but Milnut was not just milk. It was milk plus a non-dairy filler – only they didn’t inform the public this was the case. They packaged and labeled it as if it were straight milk. The court banned it in 1938 by prohibiting its sale across state lines. Josh Blackman covers the case admirably in his blog.

Today you can still buy this concoction only it has a new name: Milnot Filled Milk. Smuckers sells it and the ingredients are: Nonfat Milk, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dipotassium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.

Because the label now acknowledges that it’s not straight milk, it’s legal to sell it. However, if you look at the Milnot web site, they write about it as if it were milk. And don’t mention their past legal problems. They have blinking words that say “no cholesterol”. True, but it also happens to be full of fat: 1 gram of fat per 1 tablespoon of Milnot.

I found a photo of the Milnot factory (by Abe Ezekowitz) on Wikimedia Commons. The factory straddles the Missouri-Oklahoma border. That way Carolene Products could get away with selling this stuff in two states without transporting it across the border.
Milnot Factory


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