National Milk files petition on non-dairy product labeling
February 25, 2019
The National Milk Producers Federation filed a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration, outlining its proposal for a labeling regime on the use of dairy terms on non-dairy products.
In its petition, NMPF, which represents dairy farmers and co-ops, urges FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to "take prompt enforcement action against misbranded non-dairy foods that substitute for and resemble reference standardized dairy food(s) (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, butter), yet are nutritionally inferior to such reference standardized dairy foods."
Under existing FDA rules, such foods are required to use the word "imitation" if they reference a standardized dairy food but do not have the same nutritional value, NMPF noted. The petition also points to long-standing rules that provide for using the words "substitute" or "alternative" in conjunction with a dairy term when such products are deemed nutritionally equivalent to the dairy products they reference.
"The FDA comment docket gave us the chance to explain why there is a compelling need to resolve this labeling issue to address consumer confusion over nutritional content," said NMPF Executive Vice President Tom Balmer. "This petition lays out a constructive solution to the false and misleading labeling practices existing in the marketplace today, and provides clear, truthful and understandable labeling options for marketers of plant-based imitation dairy products."