Status (4/13/21): On 03/14/2019, the bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in the Senate. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass and progress on it has since stalled.
Trade Association Issues Letter to Food and Drug Administration Maintaining that Plant-Based Milks are Currently Properly Labeled
San Francisco, CA, February 02, 2017
Today, the Plant Based Foods Association sent letters to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defending the growing sector from recent unfounded attacks on the plant-based foods industry and plant-based milks in particular.
The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) represents leading companies that produce and market a wide array of plant-based foods and beverages sold across the United States and globally. The plant-based foods industry has been valued at $4.9 billion by the data monitoring firm SPINS.
In its letter to the FDA, the trade association maintains that plant-based milks are currently properly labeled with their “common or usual name” and that courts have agreed with this position. According to a survey by Nutrition Business Journal, 36 percent of consumers prefer plant-based milks over their dairy counterparts.
“Our members are proud to offer a wide array of innovative and sustainable food options that consumers are seeking out for many reasons. We reject these attacks by the dairy industry and look forward to a more constructive conversation that ensures consumers are able to access the delicious plant-based options they desire”, said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association.
In December of 2016, 32 members of Congress sent a letter to FDA requesting that the agency not allow plant-based brands to use the word “milk” on their labels. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) have recently introduced companion bills in the Senate and House, respectively, called the DAIRY PRIDE Act, which would not allow plant-based food companies to use any dairy terms on their labels. In addition, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to the President’s office on this issue on January 31, 2017.
In addition to issuing a response letter to the FDA, PBFA sent letters to the legislative offices of Senator Baldwin and Representative Welch. The letters explain that the PBFA is actively engaged with FDA, experts, and companies regarding how best to standardize labeling terminology for many popular plant-based foods.
I’m a food allergy mom (my baby is anaphylactic to dairy, in fact) and I’m furious that the FDA is working on passing a law CLEARLY designed to tank the plant based industry, but won’t pass a law requiring labeling for shared manufacturing lines for the top 8 food allergens. One person with a peanut allergy has already died bc peanuts were not an ingredient listed, but the product was produced on the same line as products containing peanuts. That left enough peanut proteins for the girl to DIE. Also, if this passes, the expense will no doubt be passed along to me as a consumer and the soy milk I buy my child will just be even more expensive. How can we every day citizens support the plant based industry? Will contracting or local reps help or is the FDA not governed by my local house and Senate reps?