MODESTO – Western United Dairymen is taking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to task for allowing so-called “soy yogurt” to be marketed alongside real dairy yogurt.
“These products were being displayed in a fashion so as to mislead and confuse consumers as it is labeled as a ‘soy milk’ based product,” the Modesto-based WUD wrote in its complaint filed with the FDA on Feb. 6.
WUD had previously registered complaints regarding the misuse of the name “milk” in the labeling of soy beverages. The FDA has refused to enforce a standard for milk leading to several nonmilk “milks” being sold causing the lessening of the standard of identity for diary milk.
WUD in its complaint letter reminded the FDA that any product that uses the term “milk” as part of the name on its label must conform to the federal standard of identity described as “the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.”
“The regulation is clear and does not equivocate: Milk does not come from beans, rice, nuts or anything else – it comes from cows,” reads a portion of the complaint letter.
By using words such as “soy milk” and “yogurt” in the labeling of this soy-based product “consumers are doubtlessly misled to believe that it is a product comparable to the nutritional profile and benefits of milk,” noted WUD.
“The soy product industry’s blatant misuse of the term ‘milk’ and ‘yogurt’ as part of a coordinated marketing scheme to deceive consumers must be stopped,” WUD noted in the complaint. “The explicit strategy identified herein and being employed by the soy industry is an attempt to fraudulently lure customers to their product as a substitute for wholesome, nutritious milk.”
WUD is a voluntary membership organization representing more than 60 percent of the milk produced in California. Membership benefits include resources in labor law, environmental regulations and pricing issues. Members decide the direction of state and federal legislative efforts affecting the dairy industry.