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Sour fight ends with FDA ruling soy and nut milks can still be called “milk”

February 23, 2023

Back in the simpler times of 2018—before the US Food and Drug Administration had to grapple with emergency authorizations in a deadly pandemic, before it scrambled to address a scandalous baby formula shortage, and before it largely bungled oversight of vaping products—the regulator dove into a sour struggle over dairy labeling.

At the time, the dairy industry was curdling as it watched the cold aisles of grocery stores fill with plant-based imposters—soy “milk” and almond “milk,” rice and coconut “milks.” In 2010, a fifth of US households were buying such non-moo juices. But by 2016, it was up to a third of households, with the defrauding dairy products slurping up $1.5 billion in annual sales. (And the trend went on; in 2020, sales hit $2.4 billion.)

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