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National Milk Producers Federation Wants Restrictions on the Word "Milk"

National Milk Producers Federation Wants Restrictions on the Word "Milk"

The National Milk Producers Federation is up in arms over the term "milk" being applied to plant-based products like soy or rice milk. Specifically, they're asking that such beverages be labeled as "drinks," "beverages," or even "imitation milk," while reserving the word "milk" for "mammalian lacteal secretions" only. While the federation is advocating the use of the term for cow's milk, they are OK with referring to goat, sheep, and even water buffalo (!) mammalian lacteal secretions (something about that phrase is really unappetizing) being labeled as milk.

According to a federation spokesman, the FDA is "letting the bastardization of dairy terms proliferate," causing consumer confusion. People may think that a nondairy product labeled "milk" contains the same nutrients as cow's milk, according to the federation. They're also advocating for similar rules governing the words "yogurt," "cheese," and "ice cream."

The group has even started a Facebook page, titled They Don't Got Milk, to spread the message. Generally, I think that most consumers understand that if a product is labeled "soy," "almond," or "dairy-free," it doesn't contain animal product. Many of you drink mainly dairy-free "milk" products; in fact, the market for soymilk has risen to over $1 billion annually. Are you worried about this sort of confusion? Or do you think this is just a whole lot of fuss?

Join The Conversation
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
I agree with GirlOverboard that they're trying to avoid anything that sounds like a replacement and remove the obvious choice for people who might switch. They can't make the grocery stores move it out of the dairy section, particularly since the alternates probably have a higher profit margin for the store, so it won't work.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
This is a tad ridiculous. I'm pretty sure people who buy soy milk or rice milk KNOW it's made of, ya know, soy or rice as opposed to being a mammalian secretion. How stupid do they think people are? Although, I'll say that if soy milk were called "soy drink" or "soy beverage", I'd still buy it.
missu2 missu2 7 years
I agree with the Farmers; if it didn't come from the mammary glands of a mammal, then it is not milk. It's interesting this article popped up because my coworker and I had to explain to my other coworker that Soy Milk was not milk. He didn't know that by definition it is not milk and should be labeled Drink or Juice. Then we had another discussion about "Juice" only being things made from fruits, but that is a comment for another blog post ...
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 7 years
This is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous things I've heard this week. Do they really think the consumers are that stupid? No, but they do know what many of their consumers find appealing. I don't think it's that they're worried about confusion at all - I think that they believe that people will be less likely to buy products if they're no longer seen as a "substitute." I'm betting that they're putting their money on people that are trying to make the transition from "real" milk to substitution milk, since people often make transitions by trying to stick close to the "real thing" instead of going cold turkey (pardon the pun). Some people ween themselves off of meat by eating meatless alternatives that still look and sometimes taste like meat. Some people ween themselves off of dairy by turning to dairy substitutes that look and feel the most like products made from animal milk. I'm thinking this isn't about customer stupidity at all. I think it's about making a weak attempt to make the transition a little bit more difficult for those trying to make the change. I'm with all of you on one thing, though - I think the whole idea is ridiculous and I don't think it'll do anything but waste their money and irritate non-dairy consumers in the process.
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 7 years
TADOW I totally agree with you. I find dairy "farmers" saying that people are confused into buying nondairy milk insulting. Consumers are not that stupid. Even my son, as a four year old knew the difference between soy and dairy. He preferred soy as do I.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I totally agree with ticamorena, TADOW and weffie.
sourcherries sourcherries 7 years
@ 1Amanda1 Just spit out my soybeanian secretion. Hahah. And agreed, kcmosinki--I think I know the difference between a cow and an almond...
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 7 years
I couldn't have said it better myself, TADOW. Everyone should watch Food, Inc... the way those poor animals are treated is truly disturbing. When someone buys a container of coconut milk or soy milk they are not mistaking it for cow's milk - they're buying it because it's NOT cows milk.
weffie weffie 7 years
Milk is for babies. The word actually puts me off a little. I wouldn't mind if my So Good and Rice Dream started saying "beverage" and "dessert" instead of "milk" and "ice cream." Although, if the dairy industry is going to take a common word and claim it as their own, I think it's only fair that they also claim "blood" and "pus" and declare the content of each on all their packaging. I'd rather buy Soy Beverage than Cow Bodily Fluids any day.
kcmosinki kcmosinki 7 years
This is not about consumer confusion and all about the bottom line for the dairy industry. I'm not a child that needs to be taught that a cow is different from an almond. If clarity of labeling really is a concern lets do away with the word "milk" entirely, we'll call what comes from the cow "mammalian lacteal secretions" and what comes from soy, "soy secretions."
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 7 years
They're just looking out for themselves. And they must think people are really stupid to think anyone would get confused.
They're mad that they're losing business to soy and almond milk and dairy alternatives. Now they're trying to hit the pockets of those milk products by making them change their packaging and advertising. Sorry dairy "farmers" who are really big corporations. You mistreat your cows, pump them full of chemicals, feed them junk they're not supposed to eat. More people are starting to prefer an alternative that tastes just as good, has less fat on average, has no cholesterol, and is humane. No one is confused about almond milk not being the same as animal milk. BTW, you don't own the copyright on milk anyway. Get over it.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
You're right Fit, "mammalian lacteal secretions" is really kind of gross. And I don't think anyone is confusing "almond milk" with milk. This is just kind of ridiculous.
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
argh, i loathe agrobusiness and how they always try to defend their own interests by making out that it's a 'public service' that they're providing. The fact that those vegetable drinks are labelled first (or after) with the name of the plant it comes from makes it EVIDENT that they are not animal milk; second, the word 'milk' has a million applications, from describing a drinkable product (eg coconut milk) to the name of actual plants (milk thistle) or even medical products (milk of magnesia) and is even a verb - would all these have to be re-named? In any case, i'm lactose intolerant and the closest thing to milk i drink is horchata de chufas, so maybe i should chill on this topic!
northen123 northen123 7 years
Next thing you know, they'll be making 'milk' a copyright... I think is a whole load of fuss over nothing, but that's just my opinion.
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