(VitalNews.org) – Last week, Democrat Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin blasted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ruling that milk substitutes can continue calling their products “milk” despite coming from plant-based sources like soy or almonds.
The FDA ruling was opposed by dairy farmers fighting to keep the milk designation limited to dairy milk. In its draft guidance, the FDA explained that consumers already describe plant-based products as milk and don’t need clarification on the difference between dairy and plant-based products.
In a tweet last Wednesday, Senator Baldwin described the FDA’s guidance as a “misguided act” that would hurt Wisconsin dairy farmers.
Senator Baldwin, along with Idaho Republican Senator Jim Risch, reintroduced the DAIRY PRIDE Act that would require the FDA to establish national guidelines enforcing the mislabeling of plant-based products within 90 days.
In announcing the reintroduction of the bill, Baldwin and Risch argued that current regulations require the FDA to define dairy products as coming from dairy animals.
Wisconsin accounts for 23 percent of US dairy farms, producing 14 percent of the country’s milk supply.
In a press release last week, Baldwin and Risch write that the product produced by US dairy farmers is “second-to-none” and contains “the highest nutritional value.” They argue that producers of plant-based products should not be permitted to get away with using the “good name” of milk.
Under its new guidance, the FDA recommends that milk substitute beverage makers include in labeling the name of the plant source in their products, such as “cashew milk,” “almond milk,” and “soy milk.”
The FDA is also calling for voluntary extra nutrition labels that indicate if the plant-based product contains lower levels of nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium compared to dairy milk. The guidance would continue to permit milk substitute beverage makers to include labels noting if their product contains a higher nutrient content than dairy milk.
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