FDA proposes plant-based products pair ‘milk’ descriptor with nutrient statement


In a proposed draft guidance​ slated for publication in the Federal Register Feb. 23, FDA explained plant-based milk alternatives may continue to use the term ‘milk’ in their name, as in the case of soy milk or almond milk, because “consumers generally understand that [plant-based milk alternatives] do not contain milk and choose to purchase PBMA because they are not milk.”

However, it adds, “many consumers may not be aware of the nutritional differences between milk and PBMA products,”​ and therefore should include a “voluntary nutrient statement that conveys how the product compares with milk based on the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service fluid milk substitutes nutrient criteria.”

As an example, FDA said, a plant-based milk label could say, “Contains lower amounts of Vitamin D and calcium than milk.” It also can call out when it has higher levels of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, protein or other nutrients of interest than dairy milk.

The agency based its decision on more than 13,000 comments that it received in response to its 2018 request for comment from the public on how consumers use PBMAs and understand the term ‘milk’ when included in the names of non-dairy products made from soy, pea, nuts, grains or other plant-based ingredients.

FDA also justified its suggestion plant-based products can use ‘milk’ because its use has “been established by common usage.”

The agency’s recommendation to include a voluntary nutrient statement comparing PBMA to dairy does not apply to plant-based products that use ‘beverage’ or ‘drink’ instead of ‘milk’ in their name, FDA adds.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *