The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) strongly supports the newly elected members of Congress who wrote to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb calling for stricter enforcement of the agency’s long-standing dairy standards of identity. Proliferating plant-based products falsely using “milk” and other dairy terms have created nutritional confusion in the marketplace to the detriment of public health.
“Modifying the word ‘milk’ with a plant product descriptor does not make the label accurate or appropriate, as these products simply do not contain milk or milk ingredients and the plant-based liquids are not permitted ingredients in milk,” wrote 10 first-term House members in a letter organized by Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) and John Joyce (R-PA). “The use of such a descriptor is a clear violation of milk’s standard of identity.”
“It’s simple: if it comes from a cow, it’s milk; if it doesn’t, it’s not. Why would we call a product something it’s not?” Brindisi said. “Dairy farmers in Upstate New York set high standards for the milk they produce. Copycat products shouldn’t be able to profit off of their hard work.”
“As a doctor, it is clear to me that the mislabeling of milk creates a public health issue,” Joyce said. “Consumers should be able to feel confident that they are getting the proper nutritional value from their dairy products and enforcing these Federal regulations is necessary for that to occur.”
“We welcome this new wave of support from incoming lawmakers of both parties” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “This letter adds to already broad support for uniform labeling regulations that will bring clarity for businesses and consumers.”
The freshmen letter builds upon a bipartisan call for FDA action last October that attracted 48 House member signatures. Surveys have repeatedly shown that Americans favor proper labeling of dairy alternatives. A January poll found that only 1-in-5 consumers think plant-based imitators should be called milk, while an earlier survey showed consumers, by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, called for FDA to end the mislabeling of fake milks.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, Virginia, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit our website at www.nmpf.org.