Got (Almond, Cashew, Coconut, Soy, Rice, Oat, Hemp) Milk?

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If dairy farmers get their way, plant-based “milks” will need a new name.

| By Lisa McComsey |

My dairy-loving sister protested vehemently: “Almond milk should not be called “milk”—milk comes from an animal, not from nuts!” She went on to fret about yogurt, cheese, and ice cream, too, insisting that the plant-based world needs to come up with its own nomenclature.

Little did we know that dairy farmers were on the same page—and they’ve taken their objections all the way to Congress.

It’s no secret that plant-based “milks,” “cheeses,” “yogurts,” “ice cream,” coffee “creamers,” and other faux-dairy products are eating into the dairy industry’s coffers. In recent years, dairy sales have steadily declined, while nut-, grain-, and seed-based products have gained in popularity, with sales expected to reach $35 billion by 2024.

The dairy industry claims this labeling practice misleads consumers into thinking that all milks are created nutritionally equal.

Now, a bipartisan group of 32 members of Congress is requesting that the Food and Drug Administration enforce the FDA’s definition of milk: a “lacteal secretion” obtained by milking “one or more healthy cows. (TMI???)

The plant-based contingent doesn’t believe consumers can be so easily duped into thinking that almond milk, for example, could be mistaken for dairy milk.

But that’s up to the FDA to decide, which—given their slow-mooooving bureaucracy—is likely to take a good long time.

What are your thoughts—nutty or not—on this debate? We’d love to know in the comments section below.

Photos by TK. ©2020