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Old 10-22-2003, 07:39 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Back in the South, y'all
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Is the cap color of milk jugs regulated (U.S.)

I snagged a half-gallon of milk from Kroger today, because I needed more than I had at home to cook dinner. The jug that was already in my grocery store was from Bi-Lo.

When I opened the door to take them out, I realized that they both have the same color cap, and that got me wondering if milk jugs in the U.S. are required to have specific colors - like dark blue for 2%, red for whole and the like, or if it has just become an industry standard.

I tried to find information on the FDA website and through a google search, but came up with nothing.

Old 10-22-2003, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: 430 W. Vine St., Sec. 39
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Don't think so, because the jug of 2% in my fridge right now has a lavender cap.

Might just be a rogue dairy, though.
Old 10-22-2003, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SLC, USA
Posts: 4,078
In my experience the cap color varies from brand to brand, even in the same store. There is no standard that I'm aware of.
Old 10-22-2003, 09:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SLC, USA
Posts: 4,078
It's possible that the two "store brand" milks that you bought were both bottled by the same dairy, and labelled for Kroger or Bi-Lo, in which case the colors would likely be the same.
Old 10-22-2003, 11:58 PM
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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I know that Golden Guernsey uses blue for 2%, purple for 1% Green for skim, brown for chocolate and I believe they use red for whole. But I know in other brands I've seen other colors such as yellow. I don't think there's any legal standard at all, just recognized colors amongst most brands.
Old 10-23-2003, 12:34 AM
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Location: Where the wild roses grow
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Not that I'd know what goes on in America, but I think it's that particular brands have their own specific colour-coding, but it's not an industry-wide standard. Certainly I've found that to be the case here (though some brands here have no colour-coding at all).
Old 10-23-2003, 03:46 AM
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I've seen pink, orange, white, and black caps too. The ring part makes a good cat toy.
Old 10-23-2003, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: IL, USA
Posts: 5,209
- - - No they are not--the individual dairies decide which color to use for which. The only corresponding factor is that (from the same dairy) milk with a red cap is all the same, even though they might sell one store-brand label at $1.99, another low-end brand at $2.19, and a third high-end brand at $2.49. Normally the high-end brand uses the actual dairy's own business name...... -but it's all the same milk, there is no difference--they just put different labels on the same jugs and charge more for the name-brand labels.
Old 10-23-2003, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 2,894
Interesting. I have noticed a color trend among the various brands at my grocery store (in Canada). I'm talking about predominant carton colors, here, though. (The "filtered" brands have pretty pastoral pictures on them, but the color near the spout is solid.)
  • Red is almost always whole milk (or, as we call it here, homo milk )
  • Medium blue is almost always 2%, though I have seen it in green
  • Light blue tends to be skim (non-fat)

The 1% milk varies - some brands have it in a purple-indigo carton, others dark blue.

I don't think it's a standard, though.

A side note of interest: at least in Quebec, store flyers are not allowed to publish the prices of bread and milk, and possibly butter. And butter-colored margarine (i.e. light yellow) is still against the law in Quebec. Margarine has to be either white or orange. The law was established through pressure from dairy manufacturers who didn't want margarine to overtake butter in popularity, and in their wisdom, the lawmakers decided that making it ghastly white or garishly orange would do the trick.
Old 10-23-2003, 09:17 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Nut-Topia
Posts: 652
In my area (Vermont), whole milk (in gallon jugs) generally has a red cap, lavender for 2% and yellow for 1%

I've seen green caps from time to time, though, so I don't think there's an industry standard.
Old 10-23-2003, 09:27 AM
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I only buy skim milk. Depending upon which store is convenient, I've had light blue, purple, pink, green, and white lids. This confuses my husband because he tends to remember colors. That's how we wound up with 2% one time. None of us drinks 2%.

I gave up looking at colored caps - I read labels and expiration dates.
Old 10-23-2003, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: The bunghole of WA
Posts: 12,332
In my experience, grocery stores generally carry only one brand of milk (not counting national brands like Quik. This is because most of the milk is coming from a "local" dairy or bottler. So the colors just need to be consistent within that particular brand's products.

Around here (central Washington), I usually see red for whole milk, dark blue for 2%, and light blue or bright green for 1%, regardless of brand. Most of the color variation seems to be in the skim milk caps, where I've seen lavender, pink, yellow and orange. Orange is most common on a certain special skim milk - a skim milk that has been flavor-enhanced to taste more like "real" milk. Dark green caps seem to be reserved for acidopholis milk.
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Old 10-23-2003, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sunny Southern California
Posts: 72
California here, and I drink skim milk, which always has a blue cap.
Old 10-23-2003, 01:00 PM
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Location: U.S.A.
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In the stores I frequent, it's always been red for whole milk, blue for 2 percent, and purple for skim. But, as a lactase-deficient, I have been buying Lactaid milk for several years and they had reversed the colour codes for whole and skim. Recently, they changed them to match what they apparently view as being an emergin standard, viz., the one I describe above.

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