NMPF vehemently supports federal standards of identity that have existed since the mid-20th century to maintain the integrity of food products. The federal definition of “milk” dictates that the product must have come from a lactating animal. Today, many imitation dairy beverages skirt these regulations and continually label their products using dairy terms and imagery when these items are not at all similar to real cow’s milk.
These products can be sold, but they should be renamed so that consumers better understand the differences between these imitations and real dairy products. Dairy terms such as “milk” (or “cheese”, “yogurt”, “ice cream”) should be used for dairy foods.
Complementing our efforts to fight fake milk is the DAIRY PRIDE Act. The legislation introduced by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jim Risch (R-ID) in the Senate and Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) in the House further prods the FDA to take action against plant-based imitators of milk, cheese, butter and other products that brazenly flout FDA rules. While NMPF continues to press the agency to strengthen its own enforcement, substantial support for dairy in Congress only underscores the urgency for the FDA to act now.
NMPF is also engaged on other food labeling issues, including how to label bioengineered foods and what should bear the label of “organic” or “healthy.”