FDA Announces Modernization for Dairy Product Identities
Following his related statements at a conference, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has announced that the agency will review the standardized identities of dairy products and products marketed as their substitutes, including beverages made from almonds, rice or soy. The announcement suggests that allowing the plant-based substitutes to be labeled as “milk” has caused confusion among consumers and led to detrimental effects on children.
“We’re going to have an active public process for reviewing our standard and how consumers understand the use of terms like milk on both animal-derived and plant-based products,” Gottlieb said in the announcement. “We want to see if the nutritional characteristics and other differences between these products are well-understood by consumers when making dietary choices for themselves and their families. We must better understand if consumers are being misled as a result of the way the term milk is being applied and making less informed choices as a result.”
Gottlieb further noted that, “as a regulatory agency, it’s not appropriate to unilaterally change our regulatory approach if we have a history of non-enforcement. We also need to closely consider the potential First Amendment issues related to the different uses of these terms.”