There’s a battle brewing between real milk and faux milk, or to be exact over the exact definition of “milk”. A dairy lobby group, the National Milk Producers Federation has petitioned the FDA
that the term “milk” be reserved for cow’s milk, although it’s OK with also using the word for goat, sheep or water buffalo milk — any of the various “mammalian lacteal secretions.” The federation says the FDA should require that plant-based beverages be labeled something else, noting terms such as “drinks,” “beverages” or even “imitation milk.” read more from USA Today…
The group has written to the FDA on this matter in the past, as have soymilk producers. In a smart move, the FDA has been ignoring both groups’ requests.
This is a marketing battle, not a health issue.
Cow milk sales are an order of magnitude higher than soy and other plant based milks, $12.3 billion vs. just $1 billion. But the latter saw sales skyrocket almost tenfold in less than 15 years. At that clip, dairy organizations have got to be worried.
From a nutritional perspective, the makers of alternative milks do fortify them with calcium and vitamin D to the levels found in cow’s milk (vitamin D is added to cow’s milk as well). And they offer an alternative to people who are allergic or intolerant to cow’s milk (more precisely – the lactose therein).
While personally my children do well with cow’s milk, other families may choose soy milk, or other sources of calcium and vitamin D for that matter. Remember, there are billions of people in the world, many in Asia, who have been doing just fine for ages without milk or dairy products.
What to do at the supermarket:
Whether you are buying dairy milk or soy milk, shoot for the unflavored versions that don’t contain unnecessarily added sugars and colorings. Please note that milk naturally contains sugar in the form of lactose (8 grams or about 2 teaspoons equivalent). Even the unflavored soy milks do contain about 6 grams of added sugar. So look out for anything higher than that.