The Great Milk Debate

September 7, 2018
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Think The Hottest Debate In America Is Political?

Think again.


The fascinating (& heated) fight over who can call what “milk.”

Why It Matters

“An almond doesn’t lactate.”


Commissioner Scott Gottleib addressing food labels and the term "milk" – which he says refers to a product from a lactating animal. The FDA is reviewing the "public health consequences" of labeling different products "milk" when originally the term referred to only cow's milk.

Click: Watch

Why This Matters

  • Big Picture: Americans drinking less dairy milk, while consumption of “alternative” milks (almond, coconut, oat, etc.) on the rise.
  • The dairy industry says use of the term “milk” for other products misleads the public into believing alternatives provide the same nutritional value as cow milk, when they don’t; they want a new law “protecting” the milk label.
“No one owns the English language, and we’re not backing down.”



Michele Simon, Exec. Dir, Plant Based Foods Association, who wants to resolve this conflict in a "peaceful manner." The FDA has shown signs of empathy for the dairy industry, but enforcing any change to the language remains questionable.

Laws DO exist to protect certain products, such as “bourbon” (whiskey produced in the United States in a particular way). Will that extend to cow’s milk? Should it?

by Jenna Lee,

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