Plant-Based Milk

Got milk? The FDA thinks so. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Ron Swanson, the surly anti-government director on the TV show Parks and Rec said: “There is only one thing I hate more than lying. Skim milk, which is water that’s lying about being milk.”  For a little while, the FDA seemed poised to agree with him, at least when it comes to plant-based products that call themselves milk, like almond milk.

After prompting by the dairy industry, the FDA had floated a proposed rule that would have prevented companies from using the word milk on a label unless the product inside came from milking an animal, not crushing a plant. But in its new just-released guidance, the FDA now says the word milk can appear on a plant-based product’s label provided that the producers also include the plant source like soy milk or cashew milk. Of course that doesn’t mean that you or Ron Swanson have to drink it, just that the FDA doesn’t consider it a lie.

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