FDA may finally get serious about milk imitators

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A warning letter sent to the makers of Muscle Milk has created optimism that there will be some type of federal enforcement against milk imitation products, including soy milk. 

The warning letter was sent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on June 29 to CytoSport, Inc., the maker of Muscle Milk. The letter claimed that the use of the word “milk” is misleading. Despite the name “Muscle Milk” appearing in bold letters on the packaging, in smaller print there is the notation “contains no milk.”  

Chris Galen, senior vice president of communications for the National Milk Producers Federation, says the recent action against Muscle Milk is a good start, but when it comes to enforcement against milk imitators, FDA still has a long ways to go.

“We need to see more action from FDA on a variety of fronts and not just against Muscle Milk,” he told Dairy Herd Management. “We have dozens of products that we contend are similarly mislabeled,” he says. For examples, go to the Facebook page, “They don’t got milk.”

And, the National Milk Producers Federation has been trying to get something done on this for more than 10 years.

NMPF contends that many of the products that brand themselves “milk” do not fit the legal definition.

According to Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, milk is the lacteal secretion that comes from one or more healthy cows.

Soy milk does not meet that definition, since it comes from beans rather than cows. Indeed, soy milk is the “granddaddy of the ones we feel are misappropriating dairy terms,” Galen says.  

The FDA gave Cytosport 15 days to address the labeling issues mentioned in the warning letter. The company’s web site says it is “proactively and openly addressing the FDA’s labeling concerns.”


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Tennessee  |  August, 05, 2011 at 10:47 AM

The FDA should be looking in to labels not having the "ORIGIN" of actual milk products the PMO says all packageing should have the origin of the milk to me that is the state,county,city the cow lives that the milk came from also I have a problem with a product I have noticed in the dairy case FAT FREE HALF & HALF. The definition for half and half is milk containing 10 to 18% fat so what is this stuff

Los Angeles  |  August, 05, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Does the dairy industry really want to push this? What if dairy cows aren't entirely healthy? According to the Title 21 definition, milk from an unhealthy cow isn't milk. One undercover investigation and cow milk will be renamed "the lacteal secretion that comes from one or more unhealthy cows."

Philip Lewis    
Salem, NY  |  August, 06, 2011 at 06:36 AM

Why should enforcement be so difficult. Is it really that difficult for the bureaucrats to tell the difference between milk and a chemical concoction? It's all a big scam.

California  |  August, 06, 2011 at 04:16 PM

This is ridiculous. What about coconut milk, or Milk of Magnesia? Maybe the government should go after "buffalo wings" and Chicken of the Sea, too.

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