With all the bills that have come before Congress over the past few months, you'd be forgiven for missing this one: The DAIRY PRIDE Act is trying to prohibit almond milk brands from calling their products milk.
The bill's name is an acronym for "defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt, milk, and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy every day." (It's not the greatest acronym, though, given that "milk," "cheese," and "day" are left out of it.) Its proponents are worried that the dairy industry is losing customers to people who are misled by dairy alternatives' marketing.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont, both Democrats, introduced it back in January, Buzzfeed reports.
"Dairy farmers in Wisconsin work tirelessly every day to ensure that their milk meets high standards for nutritional value and quality," Baldwin said in a press release. "Imitation products have gotten away with using dairy’s good name for their own benefit, which is against the law and must be enforced. Mislabeling of plant-based products as ‘milk’ hurts our dairy farmers. That’s why I’ve authored the DAIRY PRIDE Act to take a stand for Wisconsin farmers and the quality products they make."
The politicians didn't get this from nowhere. Farmers themselves have been complaining about competition with dairy alternatives. "While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, the increasingly common practice of labeling beverages as milk when they quite obviously are not is wrong and misleading," dairy farmer Brad Nevin said in the press release.
The FDA appears to support the farmers' side, defining milk as "the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows." But the plant-based-Food advocacy organization Good Food Institute thinks that telling companies what to call their products violates the First Amendment.
It may not seem like the world's most pressing issue, but when you consider that someone using a congressional IP address was just caught editing a Wikipedia article to insist that Garfield (yes, the cat) has no gender, the anti-almond-milk reps seem like they're making a decent use of their time.
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