‘Soy Milk’ or ‘Bean Slurry?’

|  By: Jim Dickrell

The Good Foods Institute (GFI) submitted a letter to the Food and Drug Administration today, arguing soy-based beverages should be allowed to be labeled as milk. The reasoning: Consumers know and refer to it as milk.

“Consumers refer to soy milk as soy milk. The term clearly communicates that soy milk is a form of milk that is made of soy. Likewise, rice noodles are noodles made of rice, and gluten-free bread is a form of bread that does not contain gluten. FDA should provide clarity that such straightforward terms are acceptable,” argues Jessica Almy, GFI Policy Director.

The circular logic grew immediate response from Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation: “Ironically, in GFI’s first request to FDA in March, the organization admitted that in China – supposedly the original source of ‘soy milk’ – the more common term used in Mandarin for soy beverages is ‘dòu jiāng,’ which translates to bean slurry. At least that is a more accurate and legally compliant product description.”

Mulhern adds: “The efforts of GFI and other groups to alter food standards that have been in place for decades – allowing manufacturers of imitation dairy foods to append a plant name like almond, soy, hemp or quinoa in front of legally defined dairy terms such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream – falsely suggests that the products are nutritionally equivalent. They are not. This is a transparent attempt to profit from milk’s good name by emulating the wording, but not the superior nutrition, of our products. It is misleading and deceptive to allow these nutritionally inferior imitators to use our hard-won reputation to their advantage.”

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