Representative Welch to Vegans: Don’t Call it Milk!

Don’t call it milk! Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, has declared war on soy and other milks, believing they wrongly profit from the popularity of dairy milk.

Vermont member of the US House of Representatives, Peter Welch wants to make it illegal to call anything other than the “lacteal secretions” of a female mammal “milk.” Welch is adamant that calling soy milk “milk” confuses consumers. He’s convinced the only possible explanation for rising soy and almond milk sales is consumers believe plant-based milks come from cows. Or that they somehow think plant milks are identical to cow’s milk in nutrition.

It’s pretty crazy, but Welch and 23 other members of the US House of Representatives have written the FDA Commissioner to demand that only dairy farmers be allowed to use the word “milk.”

Grasp at straws much?

Is this just desperate grasping at straws? Well, yes. In fact, Welch admits as much in his letter to FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., which you can read here. In his letter, Welch cites a recent Neilson survey showing sales of plant-based milks increased 250% in the past four years.

The rising popularity of plant-based milks, combined with a drop in dairy’s popularity, has the dairy industry concerned. And not without reason: milk prices have dropped 40% since 2014! Dairy sales dropped 7% in 2015 alone.

People are simply not consuming dairy in the numbers that they used to.

Why people Are turning away from dairy

In the past, we saw lactose intolerance as a disorder. People without sufficient lactase (the enzyme that allows you to digest dairy) were treated with expensive lactase pills or lactose-free milk. But more and more people are discovering dairy-free alternatives that suit them well – no lacteeze required.

Lactose intolerance is far more common than you’d think. It affects 65% of people worldwide, as as many as 90% in parts of Asia, Africa and South America.

Don’t call it milk!

Welch may be scared about vegans using the word “milk” to describe opaque plant-based liquids. But it’s pretty silly.

Honestly, vegans shouldn’t really care one way or the other. In fact, many manufacturers of plant-based milks don’t use the word “milk”. Here in Canada they call their product “Silk Soy” (in large letters) or “Silk Almond”.

Bottom line

In reality, forcing plant-milk producers to call their products “drink” rather than milk is not going to revive the flailing dairy milk industry. Whether it’s “almond milk” or “almond drink”, I think consumers are smart enough to know the difference. The tide has turned against dairies, and it looks bound to continue.

Because unlike Welch, vegans know whether it’s called “milk” or “drink” people are finally discovering what REALLY does a body good.







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