In an utterly firm effort to undercut plant-based rivals, big players in the dairy industry are again putting the squeeze on lawmakers to outlaw the use of the term “milk” for non-dairy beverages—or, in Food and Drug Administration lingo, beverages that are not the “lacteal secretion of cows.”
Earlier this year, the dairy industry’s blood curdled when the regulatory agency released a draft guidance stating that plant-based milk alternatives can keep using the term. It was a move that followed years of sour resentment over the labeling.
The FDA did humbly admit that almonds and other sources of plant-based milk don’t, in fact, lactate; therefore, they don’t meet the agency’s own “standard of identity” for products labeled milk. Still, the FDA made a legal argument for keeping the names. It determined that “non-standardized” foods, such as plant-based milks, can legally be marketed with names that are “established common usage,” such as “soy milk” and “almond milk.”