Glass of milk.
July 16, 2018

American Dairy Coalition Launches Initiative to Reclaim ‘Milk’ Label

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) this week has launched an initiative to reclaim the word “milk” on food labels.


The “Protecting Milk Integrity Initiative” is being rolled out ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s public hearing July 26 that will examine the possible expansion of the agency’s Standard of Identity used to define milk. According to the current standard, milk is defined as the lacteal secretion of one or more healthy cows.


Plant-based beverage proponents hope to expand that standard so that they can legally call plant-based beverage “milk,” which many already do. “It is crucial the dairy industry speaks up to ensure the FDA understands how important it is not only for the current standard of identity for milk to be upheld, but for it to be fully enforced -- restricting the use of the word ‘milk’ on all future plant-based alternative product labels,” says Laurie Fischer, ADC CEO. 


“Non-dairy plant alternatives are not equivalent to milk in nutrient value, despite marketing techniques that attempt to brand them as so,” she says. “These dishonest branding techniques make it extremely difficult for consumers to select products that will meet their dietary needs and the needs of their children.”


In a survey of 244 plant-based beverages done by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) last year, none were nutritionally equivalent to milk. “Consumers who purchase these imitations are not receiving the same level of nutrients found in cow’s milk, and that means Americans are falling short of  the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals for a healthy diet,” says Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president for dairy foods and nutrition. “FDA must act on this matter or else see the further decline of proper nourishment of our children and families.”


To learn more and sign an ADC petition in favor of keeping milk defined as it is, click here.