Dairy industry lobbies to cut milk from soy milk

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk

A dairy industry group is lobbying the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to banish the term ‘soy milk’ and stamp out any other use of dairy-specific terms to describe non-dairy products.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has sent a petition to the FDA urging the regulator to crack down on what it calls “the misappropriation of dairy terminology on imitation milk products.”

Since the NMPF first complained to the FDA about the practice a decade ago, the trade body argues that it is now more common than ever.

In addition to the proliferation of terms like ‘soy milk’ and ‘soymilk’, the petition to the FDA contends that other dairy product names like cheese, yogurt and ice cream are being used by makers of non-dairy products.

“False and misleading”

The NMPF describes this as “false and misleading”​ labeling. Jerry Kozak, NMPF president and CEO, accuses the FDA of letting the issue slide so that the meaning of ‘milk’ has now been “watered down to the point where many products that use the term have never seen the inside of a barn.”

Kozak went further suggesting that the use of dairy terminology on non-dairy products can lead people to think that they are eating a healthier product than they really are.

He said non-dairy products “can vary wildly in their composition and are inferior to the nutrient profile of those from dairy milk – although they are marketed as replacements for foods that consumers are familiar with and which have a healthful image.”

Nobody from the Soy Foods Association of North America was available to comment on these claims before deadline.

Concern about the use of dairy terms on non-dairy products are widespread in the dairy industry. On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Dairy Association (EDA) has also called for the term ‘soy milk’ to be replaced with 'soy drink'. The trade body also suggested other acceptable alternatives including 'soy beverage', 'soy preparation', and possibly 'soy-based liquid'.

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Posted by Dirk,

Is the dairy industry really this paranoid?
They can't copy write the word milk.
Why don't they buy all the soy beans abd make both?

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Posted by Kenneth Bowmer,

The definition of the word "milk" is "a white nutritious liquid secreted by mammals" The dairy industry have no rights to the word "milk". They should be obliged to label their products "cows milk" " goats milk" etc., not the other way around. It is yet another example of the power of the dairy lobby. Remember the shame of 1912 when the dairy lobby had the president of the FDA terminated for standing up against them, and that is almost 100 years ago......... What power do they wield today?

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If the word Milk is too confusing...

Posted by Gail Christen,

Lets call it what it really is: Bovine Mammary Gland Excretions. Also label milk fat percentage, as the percentage of fat to total calories, instead of 2% admit it's 32% fat milk. It's the dairy industry who's deliberately misleading people. There should be warning labels on dairy products, that they contribute to heart disease, breast and other cancers, osteoporosis, obesity, and allergies; and that most people on the planet are lactose intolerant. And the FDA should represent our true health interests. All food label should clearly state the percentage of calories from fat, and the number of calories from fat per serving.

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