AHPA submits comments on use of dairy names for plant-based product labels

AHPA submits comments on use of dairy names for plant-based product labels

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

On January 28, 2019, AHPA submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to ensure that any rule or guidance that the agency may adopt on the use of dairy names (e.g., “milk,” “cream,” “butter,” etc.) on the labels of plant-based products expressly does not apply to any such product that is not generally used as a substitute for or marketed to resemble a dairy product.

AHPA’s comments expressed neither support for nor opposition to FDA’s implementing any such rule or guidance to establish “an approach to the labeling of plant-based products that consumers may substitute for dairy foods” (see FDA’s September 28, 2018, Federal Register notice.)

AHPA’s comments instead stressed that many plant-based foods and ingredients used in herbal supplements, foods, and cosmetics include a dairy term in their common or usual names. AHPA requested that the agency clarify that any new rule or policy will not disrupt continued use of long-established common or usual names that include dairy names for foods that have significant and established food uses.

"AHPA is concerned that the absence of perfect clarity on this detail may result in regulatory uncertainty for companies that manufacture and market other products subject to FDA’s enforcement authority, or may present unwarranted opportunities for frivolous lawsuits," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin.

In its comments, AHPA presented numerous examples of plant-based foods and ingredients that include a dairy term in the established common or usual name.

Examples of dairy terms in the common or usual names of plants used as dietary ingredients in dietary supplements include:

  • milkweed;
  • butternut;
  • butterbur; and
  • milk thistle.

Examples of dairy terms in the common or usual names of plant-based conventional foods and their ingredients include:

  • peanut butter;
  • coconut butter, cream, and milk;
  • butternut squash;
  • butter lettuce;
  • butter bean; and
  • cocoa butter.

Examples of dairy terms in the common or usual names of plant-based cosmetic ingredients include:

  • jojoba butter; and
  • shea butter.
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