Committee Reports

Letter to the Food and Drug Administration regarding the Labeling of Plant-Based Milks


The Animal Law Committee (Lori A. Barrett, Chair) and the Consumer Affairs Committee (Carla A. Latty, Chair) sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in response to a December 2016 letter from 32 members of Congress which requested that the FDA investigate and take action against manufacturers of plant-based products labeled “milk.”  In their letter, the 32 members of Congress objected to use of the term “milk” for plant-based beverages—like the “soy milk” and “almond milk”—and stated that such use of the term misleads consumers and harms the dairy industry, and that manufacturers labeling plant-based beverages as “milk” are engaging in illegal activity. The Committees urged the FDA not to take the action requested by the 32 members of Congress, because:  labeling a plant-based beverage “milk” does not mislead consumers, because no reasonable consumer would believe that such milk comes from a cow; the qualified use of the word “milk” in the names of plant-based products is not “a violation of milk’s standard of identity”; the Members’ concern that consumers are confused about the nutritional content of plant-based milk is unsupported by facts; and the FDA should not make public safety decisions based on the financial state of the dairy industry.