Plant based is NUT always better! The FDA wants manufacturers of almond and oat milk to admit on the packaging that their products are not as healthy as the dairy version.
Plant-based milk manufacturers will soon be advised to note that their products are less healthy than dairy on their packaging.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed potential changes to the packaging of dairy alternatives on Wednesday. Under the new guidelines, almond, oat and soy dairy products will be asked to list their nutritional differences.
The agency said plant-based alternatives are “nutritionally inferior,” noting that they contain significantly less calcium and vitamin D than dairy.
Officials announced the change today and will allow a two-month public consultation period from now until April 24. The rules are likely to take effect soon after.
The FDA will soon recommend manufacturers of almond and oat milk place markings on the front of their packages indicating that they are less healthy than cow’s milk.
The FDA fears that many are unaware of the potential downsides of non-dairy milk alternatives to plain cow’s milk (file photo)
‘Plant-based milk alternatives are not milk; they are made from plant materials rather than the milk secretion of cows,’ the FDA wrote in its draft guidance.
‘They cannot be offered for sale as ‘milk’. Although many plant-based milk alternatives are labeled with names that carry the term “milk” (eg, “soy milk”), they are not intended to be or are represented as ‘milk’.
These changes are not binding and are only recommendations made by the primary regulatory agency in the United States.
Milk alternatives had a renaissance in the late 2010s and early 2020s. A mix of ecological concerns and people paying more attention to stomach issues related to milk digestion.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimated that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.
Almond milk, the most popular dairy alternative, racked up $5 billion in sales in 2022. The figure is expected to rise by eight percent per year for the next decade.
Other popular dairy alternatives include oat, soy, and even hemp milk.
While these can be delicious treats and pair well with coffee, officials caution that they don’t have much nutritional value.
The FDA writes that dairy products are a crucial source of calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, zinc, choline, and selenium.
Many children suffer from nutritional deficiencies related to these specific vitamins, which makes the FDA want to make it clear to parents that milk alternatives are not as nutritious.
“Cow’s milk is the gold standard nutritionally,” Luke Corey, a registered dietitian, told DailyMail.com last year.
“It’s hard to trust an alternative to get (nutrients), you get them from other sources.”
The FDA recommends changes to the packaging of all products that label themselves ‘milk’ but do not contain cow’s milk.
“The term ‘milk’ may create a more favorable perception of the nutritional content of plant-based milk alternatives compared to the use of terms such as ‘beverage’ or ‘drink,'” the agency writes.
The change was also prompted by many leading alternative milk manufacturers citing its health benefits compared to milk on the packaging.
‘Product labels for half of the top 10 brands of plant-based milk alternatives include direct nutrient comparisons with milk, primarily for calcium…however, some of these products may contain lower amounts of other important nutrients found in milk, including underconsumed nutrients’, the FDA continued.
Examples of labels provided by the FDA include text on the front of the package, not on the Nutrition Facts labels on the back of the products.