dairy products
September 27, 2018

FDA Requests Public Comments on Dairy Food Labeling

 |  By: Mike Opperman

The FDA wants to know how much consumers know about dairy products, and how that knowledge translates to products labeled as milk but made from soy, peas or nuts. A Request for Information was issued in the Federal Register to solicit public comments and feedback on the issue.

“Consumers should be able to know at a quick glance what type of product they’re purchasing for themselves and their families,” says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement on the topic. “We’re interested to know if consumers are aware of, and understand, the nutritional characteristics and differences among these products [plant based dairy alternatives], and between these products and dairy, when they make dietary choices for themselves and their families.”

According to Gottlieb, the public comments will help inform the development of draft guidance to provide greater clarity on appropriate labeling of plant-based alternatives. He says FDA is currently assessing products to determine whether labels are misleading consumers in a way that would prompt the department to take action to ensure consumers are not being misled into thinking that their plant-based beverage is a dairy product in disguise.

“We welcome the public comment request by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that we hope will finally curtail the misleading labeling practices of plant-based foods imitating real dairy products,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, in a prepared statement. “NMPF will provide additional perspective explaining why the agency must enforce its own labeling regulations and limit the use of standardized dairy terms to products that come from an animal.”

The Request for Information will accept comment through November 27, 2018. To comment, click here and follow instructions.

For Commissioner Gottlieb’s full comments, click here.