- Under a standard of identity “milk” is defined as “the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more health cows” (21 C.F.R. Section 131.110).
- Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and 32 other member of the U.S. House of Representatives sent Food and Drug Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. a letter on December 16, 2016, requesting that FDA enforce the standard of identity for milk. In the letter, the lawmakers stated, “the use of the term ‘milk’ by manufacturers of plant-based products is misleading to consumers, harmful to the dairy industry, and a violation of milk’s standard of identity” and requested that FDA “exercise its legal authority to investigate and take appropriate action against the manufacturers of these misbranded products.” In the letter, lawmakers cited a recent Neilson survey revealing that sales of certain plant-based products labeled as “milk” grew 250% in the past five years while sales of milk fell 7% in 2015.
- This is an ongoing debate. Dairy organizations have voiced similar concerns in the past (see press release from the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association). However, so far, FDA has not sided with the dairy industry.
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