Victory for common sense: ProVeg International welcomes FDA draft guidance on plant-based milks

23 February 2023

Vegan milk alternatives

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US agency says that plant-based milks can continue to use the term “milk”

Global food awareness organisation, ProVeg International, has today welcomed the publication of draft guidance on plant-based milk by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which says plant-based milk can still be called “milk”.

“This is a victory for common sense and we hope that the EU will take note,” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International, said. “Everyone knows that oat milk, for example, is from oats and not from cows. Studies have shown that consumers are not confused. The FDA has taken the right approach and we hope this helps to bring an end to the restriction of plant-based labels in other parts of the world,” de Boo said.

The draft guidance, which is open to comments – to be submitted by 24 April 2023 – under a two month consultation period, also says that plant-based drinks that use the term milk should explain how their nutritional content compares to cow’s milk. While the recommendations are optional, companies often comply with the FDA’s guidance to protect them from legal action. 

“We intend to comment later and in more detail on the voluntary nutritional declaration in the FDA proposal as we are keen to see the FDA create a level playing field for plant-based milk on the US market,” de Boo added.

Why plant-based milk should be promoted, not restricted

Plant-based milks typically have a much smaller carbon footprint, between 63% and 78% smaller than animal-based milk12. In addition, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from animal based foods are twice those from plant-based foods, so policies need to be pushed that encourage plant-based nutrition.

As well as being climate-friendly, fortified and unsweetened plant milks also offer nutritious alternatives for people who do not drink dairy milk. Such alternatives play an important role in a well-balanced varied vegan diet, or any diet trying to reduce animal consumption. People choose dairy alternatives for their functional use, not because they need to resemble an animal product exactly in nutritional value. According to the British Association of Dietitians (BDA), well-planned vegan diets offer all the nutrients required for all ages and life stages. Globally, about 68% of people are lactose intolerant, so plant milks provide a greater choice on the market and enhance inclusive diet choices. 



Notes to Editors

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About ProVeg International 

ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.