FDA Opens the Discussion of Food Labeling to the Public

FDA Opens the Discussion of Food Labeling to the Public

The movement for dairy and meat alternatives started slowly, but new products have started appearing on supermarket shelves seemingly overnight. While shoppers may be accustomed to things such as almond milk, other alternatives like oat milk and flax milk are now available to the masses. The vegan Beyond Burger can be found on many mainstream menus, and Burger King has even ventured to offer a veggie version of their best-selling burger. Even as these products have been accepted by consumers, shoppers and agriculturalists alike have started to express their concern over the common labeling of these plant-based products.

As Forbes reports, the problem with the labeling of the aforementioned products is the use of the words "milk" and "burger" respectively. The article points out that most consumers associate milk with dairy and burgers with meat, which these plant-based products do not contain. Consumers' concern and confusion over these labels is not without reason. The FDA's official Food Labeling Guide demonstrates that the statement of identity, also known as the name of the food, be prominently displayed on the front of the label. In the case of the products in question, the statement of identity infers that they are a different product. 

Consumers are concerned over the labeling of milk being used for plant-based products.Consumers are concerned over the word milk being used to label plant-based products.

What Now?

Of course, this leads us to question that if almond milk cannot be called milk, what should it be called? If the FDA does in fact change the regulatory definitions of milk like Forbes reports they are considering, big brands will have to undergo major changes. Dairy farms are especially interested in this issue considering that the Dairy Farmers of America most recently reported $1.1 billion less earnings in 2018 from the previous year. Clearly these milk alternatives that still label themselves as milk have penetrated the dairy market and it looks like they are here to stay. It may be too late for a label change to make much of an impact to reverse the damage that has been done to the dairy industry. Most likely, consumers will still be buying the plant-based products they are familiar with but established brands will have to get creative with marketing their new label identity. 

You could be seeing changes in your supermarket in the coming years or even months as the FDA is taking everyone's opinions into consideration. With more alternatives to dairy and meat entering the market it could be the perfect time to set clear rules and regulations around plant-based product labeling. If you are thinking about creating your own labels for similar products, keep the possibility of this change in mind and obtain the printing infrastructure you need by visiting DuraFast's U.S. store or Canada page.

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