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FDA Reviewing Standards of Food Identity

07/31/2018

Based on the proliferation of vegetable-based milk substitutes, organizations representing the dairy industry have petitioned the FDA to establish standards restricting the “milk” designation to products derived from udders. Concern over nomenclature of plant-based foods involves accurate information for consumers.

 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA commented, “The information provided through food labeling must be truthful and not be misleading. The consumer’s choice must be based on this information and can have important impacts on health.”

 

The FDA arranged a meeting on nutrition innovations strategy in mid-July to review the topic of food identity.  It is intended to initiate a public discussion on how consumers respond to product identity including animal and farm-derived foods.

 

Gottlieb noted, “We are actively looking at how we have been enforcing the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act with respect to food names and our own standards of identity for milk and what it means when milk is qualified with words such as almond or soy.”  Apparently, there are 300 separate standards in FDA regulations.  Gottlieb commented that standards of identity can restrain industry in developing and marketing of products.  Accordingly, the FDA will solicit input from stakeholders to be incorporated in the eventual regulations relating to food identity.

 

Although dairy producer are most involved with milk substitutes, it is evident that the issue of egg identity will have to be addressed given the introduction of plant-based synthetic egg products.  Although formulated to demonstrate similar organoleptic attributes to eggs, the nutritional quality is obviously inferior to natural eggs. Consumers should be made aware of the deficiencies of “scrambles” made from mung beans.