The milk labeling comment deadline is approaching on January 25. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially extended the comment period for labeling standards for plant-based beverages back in November. Dairy industry groups have been encouraging FDA to take a tougher stance on labeling standards for a number of years.
“This is important not just for the dairy community, this is important for broader consumers as well,” National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Senior Vice President of Communications Alan Bjerga said in a video presentation regarding the commenting process. “There is nutritional confusion that’s being created in the marketplace by people who are drinking imitation plant beverages that are masquerading under dairy terms and not passing on the nutritional value that they think they’re getting for their families.”
Information collected through an IPSOS survey commissioned by Dairy Management Inc. highlighted some of the confusion among consumers. The data showed that 53 percent of respondents believed that plant-based beverages were labeled “milk” because they had similar nutritional value. The survey also found that 73 percent of consumers incorrectly believed that almond-based beverages contained more protein than dairy milk. The comment period allows consumers to voice their concerns regarding labeling standards in order to dispel any misconceptions regarding non-dairy beverages labeled as “milk.”
“We have a unique opportunity here,” said NMPF Senior Vice President of Member Services and Strategic Initiatives Chris Galen. “to weigh-in with the FDA about how it needs to be taking seriously the mislabeling of these imitation dairy foods.”
Galen also noted that as the milk labeling comment deadline approaches, those who wish to voice their opinion are encouraged to visit the NMPF website where they have set up a page that makes the commenting process easier. “If you have any questions, or if you need help in submitting comments you can contact us,” Galen stated.