FDA Sets On Cracking Down On Plant Milk

by | July 19, 2018

FDA Sets Sights On Plant Milk Calling Themselves ‘Milk’


This week, federal regulators indicated that they are taking aim at plant milk and their use of the word ‘milk’, something the dairy industry has had an issue with for a number of months. It will hinder products such as soy and coconut drinks in the grocery stores from hailing themselves as an alternative to the cancer-causing dairy industry products.

Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is a top executive at the FDA explained at an event in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, “The question becomes, ‘have we been enforcing our own standard of identity?’” Gottlieb said at the event. “The answer is probably not.”

The FDA can’t just change the way it enforces a standard without warning, Gottlieb said. Because it plans to take a different approach to enforcement, he said the FDA will have to first develop guidance notifying companies of the change and ask for public comment. That guidance will probably be issued in a year, he said.

The plant milk debate is joining a growing number of industries that have dominated the market for decades, and their claim to certain names for food products, such as eggs, mayonnaise.

Leaked emails between the American Egg Board and the US Department of Agriculture in 2013, showed that the egg industry was behind an elaborate take-down of ‘Just Mayo’, naming them a ‘major threat’ to the industry, asking “What are we doing at AEB with regard to this competing product?? We need to have an answer!”

Email exchanges among egg board members and affiliate groups asked “Can we pool our money and put a hit on him?” and suggested having “old buddies from Brooklyn pay him a visit,” referring to Josh Tetrick, the founder of Hampton Creek, renamed to ‘Just’.

Unsurprisingly, in the more recent dispute towards plant milk, the National Milk Producers Federation, are welcoming the statement made by Gottlieb.


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