After winning approval from the House committee on Wednesday, the 2018 North Carolina Farm Act could pose changes for companies labeling plant-based products as “milk.” The state may be the first in the country to require this new labeling law.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines milk as “the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.” Companies that produce alternative dairy products, however, are still able to label products as “milk” under the current law.
Following countries like Canada and the majority of Europe, North Carolina is taking steps to ban the labeling of plant-based drinks as “milk,” a marketing tool confusing to consumers . However, some North Carolina House Finance Committee members are opposed to the state being the first to require this.
“Sometimes, it’s good to be in the lead,” Rep. John Szoka said, “but sometimes, if you get too far in front, you look around, and there’s nobody behind you.”
Agriculture Commissioner, Steve Troxler, disagreed.
“The move is needed to protect the dairy industry, as well as consumers who may not understand that soy milk doesn’t include any milk,” he said. “You ask people what’s in it, they say, ‘It’s almond-flavored milk.’ But no, it’s not.”
Troxler went on to say this would not pose a burden on the manufacturers of plant-based drinks as they are already banned from labeling their products as “milk” in Canada and across Europe.
North Carolina dairy farmers are on board with this new law , but it is still uncertain if their state will be the first to take action.