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Should Plant-Based Dairy Be Labeled as Milk?

Statement of Purpose

The issue of labeling plant-based dairy remains controversial within years that is largely associated with the increasing consumption of such products. On the one hand, people state that such should not be labeled as they look like traditional milk and may be used as its substitute. On the other hand, the word “milk” in the name of plant-based dairy may be confusing to customers. As reported by Jeske, Zannini, and Arendt (2018), there are several reasons for stopping the practice of labeling them as milk, including confusion, the threat of low protein substitution, and misconception regarding milk types.

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First of all, many parents giving plant-based milk to their children encounter such diseases as kwashiorkor and rickets that are caused by protein malnutrition. Food and Drug Administration (2018) suggests that these parents may be unaware of the fact that they purchase the alternative to the traditional fluid milk. At the same time, it should be assumed that they may also be unaware of the nutritional value of almond or rice milk.

Second, the trend is that high-quality plant-based milk would be replaced by low protein and genetic modification content due to unsustainable farming. Third, McCarthy, Parker, Ameerally, Drake, and Drake (2017) revealed that many people perceive plant-based milk as an alternative to animal milk and mistreatment, which is incorrect. Therefore, plant-based dairy should not be labeled as milk to prevent further misunderstanding.

Importance of Topic

Currently, the issue has become even more relevant since non-dairy milk is becoming more and more popular every year, which has a negative effect on the traditional milk market. Food and Drug Administration reviews the identified issue and tries to explore through the active process of engaging public opinion in reviewing the existing and standards. The Agency notes that food farmers, physicians, parents, and other interested parties should be involved in the discussion of this issue (Fatka 2018).

In other words, the specified federal organization understands the importance of the problem and contributes to its effective resolution that would pay attention to all essential aspects. For example, the Nutrition Innovation Strategy Public Meeting was organized with the aim of providing the opportunity to the interested stakeholders to express their opinions and suggestions. It is expected that all collected information will be analyzed and processed to come up with the best solution possible.


It is important that non-dairy beverage manufacturers should stop using the word “milk” to label their products, referring to existing standards that define milk as secretion obtained by milking one or more healthy cows that are almost free of colostrums (Chalupa-Krebzdak, Long, and Bohrer 2018).

The use of this word on packs of herbal drinks misleads customers, and, therefore, its use is completely unacceptable. It also adversely affects the dairy industry and completely violates the standards for milk identification. The main goal, in this case, is to appropriately label products, so that customers can immediately see what product they review and make an informed decision. One more public health concern relates to the climate debates targeting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the subsequent adverse impact on the environment. Since farming produces such emissions, it was discovered that cow’s milk has the highest nutritional value with regard to climate change.

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Key Points

By the very definition that was provided in the previous paragraph, only fluid milk should be regarded as milk. At the same time, the content of milk may also be compared to understand differences and decide on the labeling issue. The main advantage of plant-based milk is that it does not contain casein protein, which is present in animal milk (Vojdani, Turnpaugh, Vojdani 2018). Soy milk is made from soaked and ilk, which has low level boiled soybean, which contains estrogen – female hormones of plant origin, which inhibit the production of testosterone. Coconut milk is the only non-lactose milk that contains lauric acid that contributes to the improvement of immunity, suppressing the spread of viruses (McDonald 2018).

In addition, it contains vitamins and minerals. Due to the presence of substances such as lecithin and isoflavones, which have many benefits for human health, the use of this drink favorably affects the general condition of a person (Singhal, Baker, Baker 2017). Compared to bovine milk, all of the mentioned types of plant-based milk have a low level of protein, which makes the absorptions of minerals and vitamins more inconsistent.

Thus, while some people are concerned about finding the most useful milk of animal origin, which has been processed as little as possible; others for various reasons such as mistrust of manufacturers, lactose intolerance, or vegan diet are looking for alternative plant-based milk. It goes without saying that both types of milk should be accessible to customers, yet they should be educated to understand what exactly they will drink and how it will affect their health. Therefore, further research should focus on developing proper policy and standards for ensuring that all customers would have a clear picture of their daily purchases.


Food and Drug Administration. 2018. Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. on the process FDA is undertaking for reviewing and modernizing the agency’s standards of identity for dairy products. Web.

Chalupa-Krebzdak S, Long CJ, Bohrer BM. 2018. Nutrient density and nutritional value of milk and plant-based milk alternatives. International Dairy Journal. 87:84-92. Web.

Fatka J. 2018. FDA asks for input on plant-based dairy product labels. Web.

Jeske S, Zannini E, Arendt EK. 2018. Past, present and future: The strength of plant-based dairy substitutes based on gluten-free raw materials. Food Research International. 110:42-51. Web.

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McCarthy KS, Parker M, Ameerally A, Drake SL, Drake MA. 2017. Drivers of choice for fluid milk versus plant-based alternatives: What are consumer perceptions of fluid milk? Journal of Dairy Science. 100(8):6125-38. Web.

McDonald S. 2018. Pushed by Big Dairy, FDA to block plant-based milk labeling [blog post]. Voices of Compassion. Web.

Singhal S, Baker RD, Baker SS. 2017. A comparison of the nutritional value of cow’s milk and nondairy beverages. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 64(5):799-805. Web.

Vojdani A, Turnpaugh C, Vojdani E. 2018. Immune reactivity against a variety of mammalian milks and plant-based milk substitutes. J Dairy Res. 85(3):358-65. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, July 30). Should Plant-Based Dairy Be Labeled as Milk? Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, July 30). Should Plant-Based Dairy Be Labeled as Milk?

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"Should Plant-Based Dairy Be Labeled as Milk?" StudyCorgi, 30 July 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "Should Plant-Based Dairy Be Labeled as Milk?" July 30, 2021.


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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Should Plant-Based Dairy Be Labeled as Milk'. 30 July.

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