Dairy groups want more from FDA’s milk alternative proposal

Dairy groups say draft guidance from the Food and Drug Administration on plant-based milk alternatives doesn’t go far enough.

Miquela Hanselman with the National Milk Producers Federation tells Brownfield there is consumer confusion about the nutritional benefits of milk alternatives and the proposal could provide some clarity.

“If it’s a nutritionally inferior beverage to milk, it lays out how it is nutritionally inferior on the front of the packaging, so if it has less calcium then it says it has less calcium,” she says.

But the guidance is voluntary, and Hanselman says violates the Administrative Procedures Act and the U.S. Constitution.

“And in that act, a formal rulemaking to change, in this case the standards of identity or the regulations in place, has to occur,” she explains.  “They’re trying to essentially rewrite a regulation.”

FDA has an existing regulation for misbranding and imitations along with current standards of identity for milk which Hanselman says are not being enforced.

The International Dairy Foods Association also calls FDA’s proposal insufficient, saying it does not address concerns that consumers believe plant-based milk alternatives are healthier than milk.

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