Dairy Producers Call for Clarification on Meaning of “Milk”

Associated Press writer Candice Choi reported on Friday that, “Is ‘fake milk’ spoiling the dairy industry’s image?

Dairy producers are calling for a crackdown on the almond, soy and rice ‘milks’ they say are masquerading as the real thing and cloud the meaning of milk. A group that advocates for plant-based products, the Good Food Institute, countered this week by asking the Food and Drug Administration to say terms such as ‘milk’ and ‘sausage’ can be used as long as they’re modified to make clear what’s in them.”

The AP article noted that, “The U.S. actually spells out the required characteristics for a range of products such as French dressing, canned peas and raisin bread. It’s these federal standards of identity that often trigger the food fights.

“Though soy milk and almond milk have become commonplace terms, milk’s standard of identity says it is obtained by the ‘complete milking of one or more healthy cows.’ That’s a point the dairy industry is now emphasizing, with the support of lawmakers who last month introduced legislation calling for the FDA to enforce the guidelines.

“‘Mammals produce milk, plants don’t,’ said Jim Mulhern, president of the National Milk Producers Federation.”

The AP article added that, “The Plant Based Foods Association, which represents companies like Tofurky and milk alternatives, says standards of identity were created to prevent companies from passing off cheaper ingredients on customers. But the group says that’s not what soy, almond and rice milk makers are trying to do.

“Those companies are charging more money, and consumers are gravitating toward them, said Michele Simon, the group’s executive director.”

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