The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should reject a petition filed by the Good Food Institute (GFI) that would undermine federal standards of identity for food and sanction existing misleading marketing tactics of imitation dairy products, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said in comments filed this week.
In the latest salvo over the proper use of long-standing dairy food terms, the vegan advocacy organization GFI submitted a petition earlier this spring requesting that FDA permit manufacturers of plant-based products to use labels that employ standardized dairy terms such as “milk.” In response, NMPF said the petition is at odds with established laws and inconsistent with FDA regulations, which state that foods labeled “milk” must come from an animal.
“GFI’s petition flies in the face of established law and common sense,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. “Nothing has happened in the last 20 years that makes it OK to combine plant or nut powders with water, sugar, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and other chemicals, and call it ‘milk.’ This request is wrong on its merits and is designed to further mislead consumers.”
In its comments, NMPF argued that when plant-based beverages use standardized dairy terms, “they typically do so to imitate milk and other real dairy products, and to benefit unfairly from the reputation that real dairy foods have for nutritional content and quality.” The organization argues that imitation dairy products seek to “bask in the halo” of milk’s healthy reputation in order to attract consumers seeking the attributes offered by real dairy.