January 28, 2019

Last Chance To Comment on Milk Alternatives

 |  By: Mike Opperman

The time for producers to supply their comments to FDA about the use of dairy names for plant-based products closes in a few hours. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is making one last push to make sure dairy imitators can't use milk as a product description.

"Clear, accurate labeling is a fundamental matter of truth and transparency for consumers," NMPF said in comments filed with the agency. According to surveys over the past six months:  

•    77% of buyers of dairy and plant-based beverages think almond-based drinks have as much or more protein than dairy, when in fact real milk has as much as eight times more protein;
•    78% thought plant-based beverages had at least as many vitamins and minerals as dairy, again incorrect;
•    68% thought such beverages had at least as many “key nutrients” such as calcium and potassium, which they do not; and
•    While consumer confusion over nutrition is a key NMPF concern, research funded by plant-based beverage supporters found more basic confusion: Roughly 25% of consumers were unsure whether plant-based beverages contained cow’s milk.

“These misperceptions about non-dairy foods are real. The imitations confuse customers who rely on names and product packaging to make judgments about a food. Those customers deserve transparency,” said Brody Stapel, president of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and a Wisconsin dairy farmer. "Our dairy farmers and processors work hard to produce incredible food. Milk and dairy products — real dairy foods — offer almost unbeatable nutritional value, and customers deserve to know this."

As of Friday FDA had received more than 12,000 comments. FDA will accept comments through 11:59 eastern this evening. You can still get your comments in by going here