The National Milk Producers Federation [NMPF] has urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] to reject a petition asking that plant-milks can be labeled as ‘milk’.
According to the NMPF, the request clashes with established laws and is inconsistent with FDA regulations – which state that ‘milk’ must come from an animal.
The petition was filed by the Good Food Institute [GFI] in the spring, and asked manufacturers to allow the use of standardized dairy terms such as ‘milk’, ‘cheese’, and ‘yogurt’ across vegan products.
But NMPF’s CEO Jim Mulhern believes the request ‘flies in the face of established law and common sense’.
Writing in the 20-page comment section on the petition, he said: “Nothing has happened in the last 20 years that makes it OK to combine plant or nut powders with water, sugar, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and other chemicals, and call it ‘milk’.
“This request is wrong on its merits and is designed to further mislead consumers.”
According to the NMPF, non-dairy products ‘are not suitable replacements for the natural, nutrient-packed goodness of real milk’.
The dairy association argued that these foods should be called ‘what they really are – plant-based beverages’.
‘We will sue’
In its petition, the GFI threatens legal action, saying: “If FDA acts in violation of the First Amendment by restricting use of terms like ‘soy milk’, we will sue.
“We’re asking that the FDA codify its existing practice of allowing food producers to use common names that consumers recognize to describe plant-based milk, cheese, and yogurt names.”
The group also mentions that it’s time to ‘stop allowing the dairy industry to bully its competition’.
This letter follows a legal ruling by the EU that plant-based diary products may not use dairy-style words.