WASHINGTON, August 1, 2023—The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in support of the agency’s position that consumers need additional clarity on the labels of plant-based “milk” alternatives, such as “soy milk” and “almond milk,” to more easily discern when these beverages are nutritionally different from milk. Roberta Wagner, senior vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), issued the following statement:
“For several years, IDFA has been advocating for the FDA to issue industry guidance that aligns with its standards that foods must be labeled in a truthful and non-misleading way while also advancing the nutrition security of all Americans. We firmly believe that the FDA’s proposal to include a list of nutrients on the front of the container for plant-based milk alternatives is insufficient as a solution and onerous for consumers. For example, stating how nutrients differ from those found in milk in the manner proposed by the FDA would make it difficult for consumers to do side-by-side comparisons of nutrients in non-dairy beverages and milk and may further confuse consumers. Consumers should not need an advanced college degree in nutrition to make purchasing decisions. As an alternative, IDFA recommends FDA include a simple declarative statement about the nutritional difference between milk and plant-based milk alternatives and encourage consumers to use the nutrition information on the existing Nutrition Facts Panel of non-dairy beverages to make purchasing decisions that are right for themselves and their families.”
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.2 million jobs that generate $49 billion in direct wages and $794 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent most of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.