If you milk a plant, is it still milk?
Food Navigator alerts us to the FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb presenting before a recent Senate Appropriations Committee, in which Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced the Dairy Pride Act.
In short, the Gottlieb, says the FDA hasn’t enforced the term “milk” and “yogurt”, and consequently there are many plant-based alternatives in the market now.The FDA will “actively look” into the matter, but reversing policy course has many repercussions, so they will look into the matter with care.
In other words the FDA didn’t bow down to the Senator. In looking at these situations, I often remind myself that the FDA’s charter primarily focuses on managing public safety risk. Ensuring Fair Trade is generally the domain of the Federal Trade Commission.
The FDA and FTC work together, but the questions that need to be worked out are: Is the consumer at risk? Is the consumer harmed? Can the consumer tell the difference between a “plant based protein milk” and “bovine milk.?” Is there a commercial unfairness? I don’t know the answers to these questions?
According to Statista California is the leading cow’s milk producer and Wisconsin is second. So why isn’t the California and Wisconsin Senators co-authors of the bill? I wonder if it has to do with Silicon Valley spending millions on plant based startups?
FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb says the agency is “actively” exploring whether consumers are being misled by the use of terms such as ‘milk’ or ‘yogurt’ to describe plant based products, but says the FDA’s radio silence on this issue in recent years may make it harder to take action now without new data.