Tell the FDA That No One’s Confused by the Term ‘Plant Milk’

Are you angered or perplexed by the ongoing war against plant-based milk? Do you wish you could say a thing or two about all those dairy industry assertions that consumers are “confused” when they buy these products?

Now’s your chance, everyone. The FDA wants feedback from the public about plant-based products that use dairy names.

The FDA’s announcement describes the input they seek as follows:

We are interested in learning how consumers use these plant-based products and how they understand terms such as, for example, “milk” or “yogurt” when included in the names of plant-based products. We also are interested in learning whether consumers are aware of and understand differences between the basic nature, characteristics, ingredients, and nutritional content of plant-based products and their dairy counterparts. We are taking this action to inform our development of an approach to the labeling of plant-based products that consumers may substitute for dairy foods.

Regular Care2 readers, you’re already familiar with Big Dairy’s struggles to maintain market share and its efforts to derail non-animal milks. Sales of dairy products are nose diving in favor of plant-based alternatives.

Consider these facts:

  • Retail cow’s milk prices are lower in 2018 than they were in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Overall sales in the dairy milk category have fallen 15 percent since 2012
  • Dean Foods, a major national dairy producer, canceled contracts with more than 100 dairy farmers in eight states
  • Over half the dairy farms operating in the U.S. as of 2000 have sold out or gone under — from 83,000 to 40,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Dairy producers with too much milk on hand and no way to sell it dumped 43 million gallons into fields and manure lagoons in 2016
  • Several major dairy producing cooperatives reportedly bought out entire herds of cows between 2003-2010 from smaller, struggling dairy farmers — about half a million cows — and killed them to reduce the amount of milk on the market

Now consider what’s going on with plant-based milk products. Plant milk sales just keep shooting skyward. The market for plant-based milk will be at $34 billion by 2024. Almond Breeze, the bestselling almond milk, sold $514 million worth of product from mid-2017 to mid-2018. That’s a 12.9 percent increase in a single year. It’s just one example of plant-based milk’s increasing popularity.

We haven’t even touched on plant-based cheeses, yogurts and so on. They’re getting better and better while selling more and more.

We buy these products to be healthier. We buy them to avoid consuming animal products. We buy them because we cannot abide the cruelty rampant in the dairy industry. We want that horror show to stop, and we’re making consumer choices that reflect this philosophy.

dairy cow

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Consumers, by and large, are not stupid. Consumers buying plant-based products in particular know exactly what they’re doing. They’re not confused because the coconut milk sits in the same case with the cow’s milk, in a similar looking container.

That big word “almond” or “cashew” or “coconut” or “rice” tells us we’re looking at a milk that doesn’t come from a cow or goat. That’s what we want to buy. Finding a word other than “milk” or “cheese” or “yogurt” to describe these products will not magically rescue the dairy industry from its current downturn.

It’s not the words on the label, it’s the contents of the carton. Milk is legitimately defined in several ways, to include “a food product produced from seeds or fruit that resembles and is used similarly to cow’s milk.” That’s from Merriam-Webster, by the way.

Take Action!

If this issue bothers you, say something. Submit a comment to the FDA. It’s clear that the dairy industry is hard at work submitting comments. You can read them here. Let’s balance the scales a bit with input from those who enjoy plant-based milks.

Tell the FDA the idea that a milk can come only from an animal is antiquated and incorrect.

The FDA poses a number of specific questions in its request for comments. Click on this link to read the questions and submit your input. Look for the “Comment Now” button at the top right side of the web page. Written comments are also accepted.

Remember, you have until November 27, 2018. Let the FDA hear from you — or let the dairy industry keep pushing us around.

Photo credit: Susan Bird

97 comments

Ingrid A
Ingrid A15 hours ago

thanks

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Gerald L
Gerald L1 days ago

I ate a Plant-Based yogurt and woke up in ER. The company used cow dairy bacteria to ferment the plant juice. I acquired a severe dairy allergy from methanol > formaldehyde > formic acid exposure. The formaldehyde metabolizes to Toxic Formic acid in our liver and then Lactic acid in our cells. It is first cousins to cow dairy which can result in excess Lactic acid levels cellularly. Sufferers of FM, Fibromyalgia should do a cow dairy fast for about six weeks to see if their pain issues subside. Asthma may be onset also by elevated Lactic acid levels irritating the delicate air sacs in the lungs. These are suggestions of Elimination to discern if Lactic acid is triggering health issues. Goat or Sheep Dairy products pose No Adverse effects. I avoided Soy products because we also had elevated levels of manganese from the Toxic Fume Exposure.

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Shelley R
Shelley R3 days ago

Thanks.

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Kyle N
Kyle N8 days ago

I stick with regular 2% dairy Milk.

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Ruth S
Ruth S12 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S12 days ago

Thanks.

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Paula A
Paula A12 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Michael F
Michael F14 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Gino C
Gino C16 days ago

Thank you

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Dave fleming
Dave f18 days ago

Thanks for sharing .

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