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The War on Milk

Posted March 10, 2017 4:30 PM by lmno24

It seems like everywhere we look lately almond, cashew, or soy milk is among the ranks of coffee creamer options at the local café, among the dairy aisle, and the subject of debate for what to add to cereal in the morning.

For people with trouble eating dairy, or those who choose not to consume animal products, these “milks” are likely a welcome addition to the supermarket or coffee bar. But for the dairy industry, they’re becoming the subject of a serious debate – and even being considered imposters.

These products, marketed as “milk,” have dairy farmers heated. In fact, the U.S. Congress has introduced a bill, called the DAIRY PRIDE Act, which is self-explanatory but also stands for “defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt, milk, and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy every day.” Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont introduced the bill, not surprising considering their respective states yield a significant amount of dairy products each year.

The bill’s summary explains that these nut and soy milks calling themselves milk “hurts dairy farmers that work tirelessly to ensure their dairy products meet FDA standards and provide the public with nutritious food. It has also led to the proliferation of mislabeled plant-based alternative products that contain a range of ingredients and nutrients that are often not equivalent to the nutrition content of dairy products.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been lax about enforcing federal standards that enforce that milk has to be an animal byproduct, which has resulted in a surge of non-dairy milks hitting the market by storm. The DAIRY PRIDE bill hopes to make the FDA simply do its job, not eliminate these products from the market.

Due to these unenforced standards, consumers are misled into thinking these highly processed products are nutritionally equivalent to dairy milk. These products are often made by taking a bunch of pulverized nuts or seeds, mixing them with water, emulsifiers, whiteners and sugar, add some vitamins, and then pouring the result into a carton and inappropriately labeling it “milk.” While some do contain vitamins and minerals, they are added back in after processing, unlike how they’re naturally found in dairy products.

Popularity of these drinks has skyrocketed in the last few years; I think it’s safe to say it’s a combination of good marketing and lack of federal enforcement on these products. Sales of almond milk alone grew more than 200% from 2001 to 2015.

The FDA seems to side with the dairy farmer though, however lax the standards may be. By their definition – a product can be labeled milk if it fits there guidelines.

“Milk is the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows. Milk that is in final package form for beverage use shall have been pasteurized or ultrapasteurized, and shall contain not less than 8 1/4 percent milk solids not fat and not less than 3 1/4 percent milkfat. Milk may have been adjusted by separating part of the milkfat therefrom, or by adding thereto cream, concentrated milk, dry whole milk, skim milk, concentrated skim milk, or nonfat dry milk. Milk may be homogenized.”

But supporters of “alternative milks” are both defending the right to the use of the word milk; saying allowing them not to be is a violation of free speech, as well as defending the use of the word at all.

The Plant Based Foods Association, which represents companies like Tofurky, says standards of identity were created to prevent companies from passing off cheap, low quality ingredients on customers. But the group says that’s not what soy, almond, and rice milk makers are trying to do.

The Good Food Institute, which is a nonprofit advocating for plant-based foods, filed a petition with the FDA defending the products continued use of the word milk, citing the First Amendment.

So, what do you think? Should we consider these products milk? Or something else?

Sources:

https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/dairy-pride-act

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/fake-milk-at-center-of-food-fight/article_c24e2213-25d0-525f-84ce-8bc0ca6dd145.html

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/03/143550/almond-milk-dairy-pride-act

http://www.wisfarmer.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/02/24/buyer-beware-not-all-milk-created-equal/98384854/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/venessawong/should-almond-milk-be-allowed-to-call-itself-milk?utm_term=.qflPDKpXl#.lvJqBj4AO

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=131.110

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#1

Re: The War on Milk

03/08/2017 3:27 PM

Milk doesn't just come from cows, so I disagree with the definition. People with lactose intolerance (like me) can't drink cow milk anyways, so it doesn't matter what the soy/almond milk products are called. : )

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#2

Re: The War on Milk

03/10/2017 5:29 PM

While I think the Congress has much more important things to do, if it didn't come from the teat of some animal, it shouldn't be called milk. Period.

I also think the dairy people are being a bunch of snivelly whiners about this whole thing and they should quit wasting our time and tax dollars. Hell, we already bailed out the flippin' cheese industry to the tune of $20 million. If people want dairy milk, they shouldn't be so stupid as to buy something labeled "Silk", would they? Especially since the prices of these milk-substitutes is considerably higher than the real deal.

Manufacturers are welcome to put pictures of their product on the label. Put it in a drinking glass. They just can't call it milk. People can figure it out. They aren't that stupid are they?

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#23
In reply to #2

Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 10:12 PM

I checked Google on that. There are several webpages that cite just how stupid people are. Here are a couple.

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#31
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Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 1:40 PM

For some things, maybe it was better I didn't REALLY know.

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#26
In reply to #2

Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 7:33 AM

yes, they are that stupid.

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#3

Re: The War on Milk

03/10/2017 5:45 PM

They could call it milky rather than milk, this would seem a more proper use of the word...

Milky stuff from Soy....

Is soymilk a word?

What about Milkweed?

Is that milk?...or milky sap....

I think as long as they have the ingredients listed, they can call it whatever they want....

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

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#4

Re: The War on Milk

03/10/2017 10:45 PM

Cow's milk (and goat's milk, sheep's milk, etc ...) IS a plant-based food.

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#5

Re: The War on Milk

03/10/2017 11:10 PM

Nothing better than fresh milk or butter if you can tolerate dairy. Nothing worse for male youngsters than soy based products when you want to reduce the hormonal disruption of the estrogen-like soy compounds. Well, lead is worse, so are many other hazards that aren't part of a young child's diet.

If we have laws on the books labeling milk as products of lactation then we should enforce the laws or repeal them, not just ignore them.

I read a post regarding the term milk and dairy as if it applied only to bovine dairy. There is a market for human milk as well as goat, llama, yak, water buffalo, etc. Not that I've ever seen yak or water buffalo milk, cheese, or yogurt at my local Kroger....but the topic was for our US ubiquitous milk market, so I'll say I support all the various forms of animal or human derived milk, not just cow milk.

Regarding the "Whiners" post, the dairy cattle folks are hard working farmers who tend their land and livestock 24/7, when they "whine" we all should listen. We don't need ice cream and yogurt in hundreds of flavors, but we do need healthy and inexpensive sources of calcium for our wives & children - and what would a grilled cheese sandwich be like without dairy?

- disclosure: I grew up on a farm with several milk cows, experienced butter churning first hand, and will drink skim milk or fake (soy/almond) milk to be polite to a host but never will drink or mix drinks with either on my own. I like my White Russians "Natural", and I really dislike powdered or fake coffee creamers!

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#7
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Re: The War on Milk

03/10/2017 11:33 PM

Apparently (I don't personally remember), I was allergic both to my mother's milk and to ordinary cow's milk right after birth. I'm sure my mother would have been really happy to have had any one of these artificial "milks", even if it wasn't absolutely complete nutrition.

Fortunately, some experimentation led to the discovery that I could/would drink milk from a Guernsey Cow, so they bought one! During all the time that I can remember, I've never considered milk to be a beverage, but rather an ingredient. I just don't care for the flavor, and if it is warm, I find it absolutely repulsive. Yet I always use warm milk as an ingredient in my sourdough baking.

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#6

Re: The War on Milk

03/10/2017 11:14 PM

In Australia, there was the battle between PEANUT BUTTER and PEANUT PASTE.
Peanut butter is now in common use.
See link for the background story http://www.pca.com.au/archive.php?subaction=showfull&id=1317391442&archive=&start_from=&ucat=73&

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#8

Re: The War on Milk

03/11/2017 1:08 AM

In the 1950's in Australia, there was a national campaign so that a million kids got free milk at every morning recess .... for me, it was picked up from the train around 7.30am and sat in the sun until around 10am .... YUK! There were straws with chocolate flavoring to take away the edge of these 'milk filled' tetrapaks.
See Govt PR News story http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/27573315

The 'FRESH MILK' on the tetrapak disguised the contents
and turned me off fresh milk separately for life ... I do enjoy
iced coffee so I guess my taste buds eventually have partially recovered.

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#9

Re: The War on Milk

03/11/2017 12:25 PM

I thought this proposed legislation was not needed. Don't people know the difference between cow milk and almond or soy milk? But perhaps I overestimate the intelligence of people. Cow milk needs to fight the battle for continued acceptance in the arena of ideas not labeling.

If you are going to legislate - my pet peeve is the creeping addition of extraneous things into foodstuffs that you tend to take for granted the contents. For example Half and Half. If you don't want to consume thickener additives, then beware 90% of the stuff on the shelf now has this. Celestial Seasonings has earned my permanent ire because they put Stevia into loose leaf tea - who thinks that is OK? If I wanted my tea sweet, I can do that myself thank-you. Also canned fruit used to have very prominent labeling if they used artificial sweetener - now you have to read the 2 point font to find out.

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#10

Re: The War on Milk

03/11/2017 12:50 PM

Soymilk and almond milk cost at least twice as much as cow's milk, so the argument of cheap alternatives is ridiculous. There are several dairy farm organizations that have been lobbying for years for cow's milk to be used in schools, etc. This is propaganda of the worst kind. I grew up on cow's milk, but I have come to believe it is not fit for human consumption after reading several health books. With the GMO problem, the others might not be either, but plant-based will be my choice over animal-based.

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#11

Re: The War on Milk

03/11/2017 1:17 PM

The dairy industry should not be SO up in arms over this; you can make a curd from soy (which is tofu) you can make a curd from moong bean, they ARE in some ways like milk. Dairy industry should calm down.

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#12

Re: The War on Milk

03/11/2017 2:46 PM

I drink soy milk and almond milk that I see on sale quite often. Dark chocolate soy and almond milk are my favorite!

Especially when they are on sale for cheaper per unit of volume than 2% standard milk at $5+ a gallon now most days.

How does that work anyway?

Cow to pasteurizer to bulk truck to jug to store to me $5+. (4 steps source to me)

Vs. Grows in a field for months to combine to bin to elevator to processing plant to jug to store to me for under $5? (6 steps source to me and one step has a buttload of processing effort and cost associated with it.)

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#13
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Re: The War on Milk

03/11/2017 3:57 PM

I often see cow's milk here for $2 a gallon, unless it's organic, then it's $4+ a gallon. Soymilk is $3+ for a half-gallon most places. The lowest it gets is $2.50 for half-gallon.

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#27
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Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 7:44 AM

In Pa whole milk is about $4 a gallon and 2% noticeably cheaper.

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#14

Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 5:25 AM

Q: Why do they call "Soy Milk" Soy milk?

A: Because if they called it "Nut Juice" nobody would drink it!!

By calling the product "Milk" they have chosen to compete with real milk in the open market. By using the term "milk" they have intentionally blurred the boundaries and it would seem from your legislation that they have crossed the boundary.

But then, maybe the "Kiwi fruit" should be labelled "Chinese gooseberry".

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#15
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Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 11:51 AM

Would you believe that I have a good Chinese friend in Xi'an and her dad grows ....
kiwi fruit and NOT Chinese gooseberries. The fruit is also marketed as kiwi fruit in Chinese.

On that basis, should cow's milk be rebranded as "mum's liquid" or some other obscure definition?

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#16
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Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 4:14 PM

We called it moo juice when I was a kid.

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 8:43 PM

"Cow Squeezin's" in my area.

(Not found to be funny by parents teacher and most mature adults.)

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#17

Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 4:36 PM

How many people can tell the difference between butter and margarine? I'm thinking that the milk industry is worried that milk will suffer the same fate.

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 8:46 PM

One tastes better and doesn't have to be microwaved for 20 seconds to be able to be spread on fresh bread without tearing holes in it.

My Kitties seem to like margine better too.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 9:37 PM

I read an article awhile back that when margarine first came out, people preferred the taste of butter, but now they prefer the taste of margarine. But it seems that butter is starting to make a comeback.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/06/17/the-generational-battle-of-butter-vs-margarine/?utm_term=.10b5d21122cc

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#22
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Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 9:59 PM

And now we have margarine with a buttery taste.

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#25
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Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 11:31 PM

Notice that the uptick in margarine consumption occurred in the late '40s. Prior to that time, margarine was its natural color: white. For a few years in the mid '40s, the dairy industry successfully prevented the sale of colored margarine. I clearly remember when margarine was sold in bags, with a separate corner of the bag filled with color (in some cases the color was a powder; in others it was a liquid). Once home, squeezing that corner would break the seal between it and the white margarine, and then you would knead the bag until the color was uniform, and close to the color of butter, but a little brighter than most real butter.

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#28
In reply to #20

Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 7:45 AM

Butter has always tasted better than margarine, but I don't know about recent ones. They might have put in enough additives to do it now. I have flip-flopped between the 2 several times over the years, but have been convinced by recent medical news that butter is better for your health. See here. There is a lot of old mis-information on the internet. I leave a butter patty out of the fridge so it stays soft. Even margarin that claims to have no trans fats, if heated, will produce much of the nasty stuff.

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#30
In reply to #28

Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 11:16 AM

Your linked article sounded about as unbiased as any I've seen, and generally agrees with my points of view. I just wish it had provided some references/links for "many studies have confirmed...".

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#33
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Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 3:34 PM

Don't refrigerate your butter. It takes months before it even thinks of spoiling. (If it's too scary, just leave one stick at a time in the little thingy on the table.)

Taste Off:

Hot bread right out of the oven, one slice has margarine, the other slice has butter.

I know which one I prefer.

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#35
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Re: The War on Milk

03/14/2017 12:08 AM

Butter wins for me! Apparently the ants have also voted with their many feet.

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#36
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Re: The War on Milk

03/14/2017 11:32 AM

That experiment also shows similar results with flies and shit too.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: The War on Milk

03/14/2017 2:39 PM

Oh? Shit comes in reduced fat and, what.... margashit varieties?

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#38
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Re: The War on Milk

03/14/2017 4:20 PM

Chunky, creamy and extra fluffy lite depending on what sort of day you're having.

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Re: The War on Milk

03/14/2017 7:34 PM

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#24
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Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 11:15 PM

I gather you can't!? I certainly can! We quit buying margarine 15 or 20 years ago. I'm convinced that most, if not all, of the substitutes are less healthy than the original products (barring specific allergies). That is especially true for the non-fat food substitutes, and anything containing artificial sweeteners.

It is a fairly common occurrence that whatever you grew up with tastes better than something else. I have a good friend who prefers mashed potatoes made from dehydrated potatoes, to the real thing. I was flabbergasted when I first learned that!

On the other hand, I grew up on margarine, because my parents felt we couldn't afford butter, except on special occasions. Thus butter was something special, and I always looked forward to mom's home-made bread with real butter.

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#18

Re: The War on Milk

03/12/2017 5:41 PM

'.... While some do contain vitamins and minerals, they are added back in after processing, unlike how they’re naturally found in dairy products....'

.

Ah, 'unlike how their naturally found in dairy'?!?!? You don't mean the vitamin D and A found in cows milk sold in the US? Those are definitely added; legally required to be added as a matter of fact.

.

This article has a very obvious strong slant. I think you misjudge the audience if you believe presenting such a one sided argument won't result in significant push back. I doubt in the end you will have persuaded as many as you have pushed into the other corner.

Treating the readers as adults with a modicum of sense by providing a more balanced article would probably garner more support for initiatives that actually make sense...and if they don't make sense, maybe the don't deserve to be pushed.

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#29

Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 9:33 AM

The term 'milk' has been genericized to mean something like an edible whitish translucent fat and protien containing colloid with a viscosity slightly thicker than water.

.

If cow dairy farmers want to market their liquid as something different from other milks, then they should choose a more specific descriptive term.

BME..Bovine Mammary Excretions

LNTTVWHS...Liquid Nurishment That Tasty Veil Would Have Suckled.

CTH...Cow Teet Harvest

BAANE....Bos Areola Ampulla Nutritious Effluent

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#32

Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 3:21 PM

So would this legislation also eliminate 'coconut milk' also. How long has that term been around? I don't recall much push back on that term.

It would not matter to me or my family what it is or isn't called as we choose food by what works for us based on what it is made of, not what the name is.

Passing this law will not garner any more or any less of my grocery budget to the dairy industry.

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#34

Re: The War on Milk

03/13/2017 6:11 PM

Oh I thought this was some anti-cow-tipping thing....

Nevermind.....

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#40
In reply to #34

Re: The War on Milk

03/15/2017 10:41 AM

That cow is dead. Might be cause by blockage or too much gas and can't fart thing.

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#41
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Re: The War on Milk

03/15/2017 12:40 PM

GA. You are right. Cows can get bloated when they eat too much grain. Then when they drink water, the grain swells up and blocks one of their stomachs.

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#42
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Re: The War on Milk

06/04/2017 4:20 PM

Horses are worse, they'll get colic, and since horses don't belch...you have to walk them around till they fart themselves back to good health.

Cows it's not bad, they belch constantly to regurgate and move their cud to different stomachs. What you have to watch out with a cow is triaged stomachs where surgery is needed to 'untwist' them.

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