FDA recommends adding nutrient statement on plant-based milks

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 4:51 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Food and Drug Administration officials say soy, oat, almond and other similar plant-based drinks can continue calling themselves milk, but they want companies to make sure people know what they’re drinking.

The federal agency just issued draft guidance that says the plant-based beverages can keep the milk label because they don’t claim to be from animals. However, that same guidance recommends including a nutrient statement on these products, including how they compare to dairy milk. An example might be something like, “Contains lower amounts of vitamin D and calcium than milk.”

Officials from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture say the FDA should crack down on the dairy alternatives because they cloud the real meaning of “milk.”

“That draft guidance and that proposal from FDA, it does not settle the issue. The issue is still that they are labeling a product as milk when it is not milk and it doesn’t meet that standard of identity,” said E.B. Flory, the dairy program section chief with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

The draft rules do not apply to nondairy products other than beverages, such as yogurt.

With the draft guidance being issued, a public comment period has opened that will end in April. Officials say public input could lead the FDA to create a final ruling on the debate.

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