Milk or Milked: the story of two labels

DAIRY PRIDE Act is often cited as the ‘‘Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese”. It states that No food may be introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce using a market name for a dairy product if the food does not meet the criterion set forth for dairy products.

Dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet for both children and adults. Consumption of dairy foods provides numerous health benefits, including lowering the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. The Dietary Guidelines state that dairy foods are excellent sources of critical nutrients for human health, including vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. When consumed in the amounts recommended by the Food Patterns of the Department of Agriculture of USA, on average across the calorie levels, dairy foods contribute about 67 percent of calcium, 64 percent of vitamin D, and 17 percent of magnesium.

The Food and Drug Administration has regulations that define milk and cream as the ‘‘lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows’’. This definition further applies to milk used to create other dairy products, including yogurt and cheese.

FDA stop plant-based dairy alternatives from being labeled as ‘milk’. The plant-based dairy companies may use the term ‘Milked’ in the names of its products to bring more transparency in the labeling of plant-based products.

Imitation dairy products, such as plant-based products derived from rice, nuts, soybeans, hemp, coconut, algae, and other foods that imitate milk, yogurt, and cheese, often do not provide the same nutrition content as real milk, cheese, and yogurt derived from dairy cows.

Dairy sales in the US are on the decline, meanwhile the plant-based milk sector continues to grow. In the United States, sales of oat milk jumped by 477% in the second week of March compared to the same period last year, as the country became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

The demand for plant-based milk comes from people who are lactose intolerant, or who have concerns about the cruelties inflicted on animals in the dairy industry, or the environmental impact of such large scale livestock raising.

The industry map (in pic below), shows the brands making 35 different kinds of plant-based milk, including banana, pistachio, and human breast milk.

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