NMPF Statement on July 31 Letter to FDA from Good Foods Institute Seeking Changes in Dairy Food Definitions
From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF
ARLINGTON, VA – “The Soy Foods Association’s 20-year-old petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is as inappropriate today as it was when it was filed in 1997, and the Good Foods Institute (GFI) is mistaken for trying to revive those old arguments today. Nothing has happened in the intervening time period to allow the combination of soy powder, water, emulsifiers, stabilizers, sugar, sodium and added vitamins to magically become milk. Regardless of what food technologists might try, milk still only comes from mammals.
“The efforts of GFI and other groups to alter food standards that have been in place for decades – allowing manufacturers of imitation dairy foods to append a plant name like almond, soy, hemp or quinoa in front of legally defined dairy terms such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream – falsely suggests that the products are nutritionally equivalent. They are not. This is a transparent attempt to profit from milk’s good name by emulating the wording, but not the superior nutrition, of our products. It is misleading and deceptive to allow these nutritionally inferior imitators to use our hard-won reputation to their advantage.
“What’s more, this request is not only inconsistent with U.S. food standards, it’s also inconsistent with regulations used by most other nations, which don’t allow plant-based imitators to co-opt dairy-specific terms. Ironically, in GFI’s first request to FDA in March, the organization admitted that in China – supposedly the original source of ‘soy milk’ – the more common term used in Mandarin for soy beverages is ‘dòu jiāng,’ which translates to bean slurry. At least that is a more accurate and legally compliant product description.”