Soy, oats, almonds and other beverages that call themselves “milk” can continue to use that name, according to a draft federal rule released Wednesday.
Food and Drug Administration employee issue guidance This indicates that plant-based beverages do not pretend to come from dairy animals, and US consumers are not confused by the difference.
For years, dairy manufacturers have asked the FDA to crack down on plant-based beverages and other products that they say mask the true meaning of “milk” by masquerading as an animal-based food.
Under the draft regulation, the agency recommends that beverage makers clearly label products by the plant source of the food, such as “soy milk” or “cashew milk.”
The regulations also call for voluntary additional nutrition labeling to note when levels of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin D are lower than in cow’s milk. Labels to note when plant-based drinks have higher levels is still allowed. Due to its nutritional level, fortified soy milk is the only plant-based food included in the dairy category of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
The new guidelines are aimed at providing consumers with clear nutritional information, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Calif said in a statement. The draft rule would not apply to non-dairy products other than beverages, such as yogurt.
The industry group, the National Federation of Milk Producers, has applauded the call for additional nutritional information on drink labels, but it is not allowed to refer to the plant-based drink as milk because it is a “common and usual name.” It said it rejected the FDA’s conclusion that it could.
The Good Food Institute, an organization that advocates for plant-based products, said in a statement that “the guidance will not allow companies to directly Falsely warned to compare,” and objected to the additional labeling.
In recent years, the number of plant-based beverages has exploded to include dozens of varieties, including cashew-, coconut-, hemp-, and quinoa-based beverages. The drink is made from liquid extracts of plant materials, but is often labeled and described as “milk”.
In the United States, almond milk is the most popular variety, while oat milk is growing the fastest. According to NielsenIQ, refrigerated milk sales rose to $12.3 billion for him in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 28.
In the past, lawmakers in dairy states tried to pass legislation that would have forced the FDA to enforce a federal standard defining “milk” as any product “milked from one or more healthy cows.”
Agencies are accepting comments on the draft guidelines until April 23.
https://www.npr.org/2023/02/23/1158933295/oat-and-soy-can-be-called-milk-fda-proposes FDA Releases Draft Guidance on How to Label Plant-Based Milk : NPR