The US FDA could put an end to almond milk by next year … but only in name. The issue is that almonds don’t lactate, so the word “milk” is not appropriate. (Image from veganhightechmom.com)
The US Food and Drug Administration seems to have soured on nondairy milk-alternative products that use the term “milk” in their marketing and labeling—like popular soy and almond milk products.
In a talk hosted by Politico, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Tuesday that the FDA will soon issue a new guidance on the use of the term. But he added that products aren’t abiding by FDA policies as they stand now. He referenced a so-called “standard of identity” policy that regulates how milk is defined and should be identified.
“If you look at our standard of identity—there is a reference somewhere in the standard of identity to a lactating animal,” he said. “And, you know, an almond doesn’t lactate, I will confess.”
He went on to explain that the issue is that the agency hasn’t been enforcing its own policy or putting the squeeze on product makers—and that it’s time to get abreast of the labeling language.
But, he admitted, curtailing the wording of non-moo juice labeling isn’t an easy task because it means that the agency has to change its “regulatory posture.”
“I can’t just do it unilaterally,” Gottlieb said. Hence, the agency is putting together a new guidance for manufacturers to help skim the fat from the market. Gottlieb said the agency will soon tap the public for comments on the terminology and hopes to wring out a new policy within a year.
Read the rest on Arstechnica
Could this be a push back toward the long gone (1950’s?) days of truth in advertising, with appropriate fines for violations where claims are not supported by evidence? I don’t think so, it’s too big a job these days.
Here’s an alternative: Implement new voluntary honest advertising standards that would be reviewed by a new independent public non-profit group.
The “US integrity standards” would include citing sources for all claims and revealing the results of all studies done for products (not just favorable ones), along with any potential conflicts of interest. This data would be published in a public registry so all could view it.
Like the us “organic” label, any advertisers that followed these standards for every advertisement would get a gold star rating, for just being honest and being certified as such.
Fraudulent use of the gold star rating logo would be punishable by a minimum $10,000 fine and/or something like 1,000 hours (125 eight hour days) of Community Service cleaning up US toxic waste sites.
Yet another idea that could have made me super rich … if I didn’t just give it away to the Internet for free. 😉 Have at it entrepreneurs.