News & Resources

Dairy Foods Labeling Docket Remains Under Review

July 30, 2019

The dairy-labeling docket closed at the end of January with a total of just over 14,000 comments being filed. The docket, which was opened to “better understand how consumers use these plant-based products and how they understand terms such as, for example, ‘milk’ or ‘yogurt’ when included in the names of plant-based products, and if they understand the difference between plant-based products and dairy products including the basic nature, characteristics, ingredients and nutritional content.

The docket contained a wide array of comments ranging from people in support of properly labeling plant-based foods to people who were outraged the docket was even opened.

Many of the comments against the proper use of dairy terms were rants from plant-based consumers that appear to have misinterpreted what the docket was asking, with many making statements along the lines that “they are not so stupid they can’t understand that soy or almond doesn’t come from an animal. Duh,” which is not related to the issues of nutritional confusion the FDA is examining.

On the other side of comments, a pediatrician from upstate New York with no ties to the dairy industry wrote-in because of her concern with parents not understanding the nutritional difference between cow’s milk and plant-based products. Her comment stated: “It is nutritionally different and deceptively marketed to parents trying to be healthy. I was horrified to find one set of parents feeding hemp milk to a small baby. I had another baby with a serious lifelong medical problem being given a wobbly start on a vegan diet.” You can find her full comment here.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) felt similarly and stated: “Pediatricians report using the term ‘milk’ in the labeling of dairy-free alternatives has caused parental confusion, leading to the purchase of products that they assume contain traditional dairy ingredients and, thereby, unintentionally causing harmful nutritional deficiencies in their children.” You can find the full comments from the AAP here.

NMPF would like to thank everyone that submitted a comment. In response to this docket, we have requested a meeting with FDA to emphasize the findings in this docket and the importance of this matter for consumers’ health.

Contact: Clay Detlefsen