Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | APAC edition

News > Regulation

Read more breaking news



Plant Based Foods Association to FDA: Plant-based 'milks' are properly labeled

Post a comment

By Elaine Watson+

Last updated on 02-Feb-2017 at 20:15 GMT2017-02-02T20:15:25Z

Picture: istockphoto-HandmadePictures
Picture: istockphoto-HandmadePictures

It is both lawful and pragmatic to describe plant-based beverages as ‘milks,’ and the courts agree, the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) has told the FDA, in the wake of pressure from lawmakers to crack down on the use of dairy-related terms for products made from nuts, seeds and legumes.

In a letter  to Dr Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the association told the agency: “We respectfully maintain that such products are properly labeled with their ‘common or usual name’ or ’appropriately descriptive term,’ per 21 C.F.R. 101.3(b)(2) and (3), and we note that courts have agreed with this position .” 

The letter was sent following the introduction of The Dairy Pride Act – a bill urging the FDA to prohibit terms such as ‘almond milk,’ and ‘vegan cheese’ – and a letter from lawmakers sent to the FDA before Christmas urging it to enforce standards of identity for ‘milk,’ which restrict it to the ‘lacteal secretions’ of cows.

Our members seek consistency in their labeling

The PBFA's letter added: “Our members seek consistency in their labeling, especially for emerging food varieties. To help address this, we have begun to:

1. Create a formal standards committee in our association to address labeling and related issues

2. Engage experts with experience in these matters to guide our process

3. Invite all relevant companies in the plant-based foods industry to participate.

“Out of this process we hope to gain important information from industry members, along with other experts, on how to best standardize labeling terminology for many plant-based foods.”

We reject these attacks by the dairy industry and look forward to a more constructive conversation that ensures consumers are able to access the delicious plant-based options they desire”.

Michele Simon, executive director, Plant Based Foods Association

Consumers choose plant-based foods for multiple reasons

In separate letters to Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Peter Welch, who introduced the Dairy Pride Act to the Senate and the House respectively, the PBFA said its members were “eager to achieve consistency in how they label their products,” and that its mission “is simply to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace, a concept we hope you support.”

It added: “Millions of US consumers have already made plant-based foods the functional equivalent of dairy-based products (including milks, cheeses, and yogurts) in their diet, and are actively seeking them out for a variety of reasons including taste, health, allergies, lactose intolerance, environment, and animal welfare.

“We welcome a conversation with you to get your input on how we might be able to reach a solution that works for all food industry sectors.”

IDFA: Milk should be milk

The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association, however, argue that they simply want the FDA to enforce standards of identity already enshrined in law that limit the use of dairy terms (milk, cheese, yogurt) to dairy products.

 “These plant-based products are imitations, but they are not substitutes for the comprehensive nutrient package offered by real milk,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of IDFA. 

The reason we have food standards is to preserve the integrity and consistency of what’s inside the packages. Milk should be milk.”

Further reading:

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Key Industry Events


Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...