NMPF Letter Warns FDA: Don’t Repeat Plant-Based Mistakes with Lab-Produced Fake ‘Milk’
June 27, 2023
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must end dairy product mislabeling by manufacturers of synthetic, cell-based “dairy” ingredients that are in violation of federal dairy Standards of Identity to prevent a repeat of the plant-based labeling fiasco that’s created confusion among consumers and regulatory headaches at the agency, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said in a letter to the agency.
“Bored Cow’s product takes water and adds what we believe to be one unidentified, lab-engineered ‘whey protein’ along with a highly processed concoction of food additives, preservatives, oil, sugar and several added vitamins, and claims to have created ‘animal-free dairy milk.’ It is baseless, preposterous and absurd to call the resulting product ‘milk,’” NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said in the letter. “In the interest of public health, the misleading labeling charade must end before it gets out of hand. FDA must act, and must do so now.”
NMPF, which has repeatedly called on FDA to enforce its identity standards for milk as plant-based fakes have proliferated, has been warning the agency that lab-based milk imposters would be next on the horizon without agency action. Even as the agency is wrestling with draft guidance that finally acknowledges consumers’ core concern over plant-based beverages – their false positioning as dairy equivalents in the face of glaring nutritional inferiority – lab-based imitators are following the plant-based playbook and plastering “milk” and other standardized dairy terms on products that in composition bear little resemblance to true dairy.
“As we have seen in the decades-long folly of plant-based beverage labeling, an ounce of prevention is worth oceans of cure,” Mulhern wrote. “We ask the agency to exercise its well-established authority to prevent this company and others that seek to follow from leading consumers down what will become a superhighway of misinformation, absent your willingness to enforce the law.”
Consumers concerned with labeling integrity may visit NMPF’s Call to Action on plant-based labeling here. For an in-depth discussion on lab-based “dairy” and its pitfalls, listen to this podcast here. A copy of NMPF’s full letter regarding Bored Cow, a brand offered by New York City-based Tomorrow Farms, is here.