Senator Tammy Baldwin listens during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on July 29, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Astrid Riecken—Getty Images
By Kate Samuelson
January 18, 2017

A U.S. senator has introduced legislation that prevents non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae from being labeled as dairy terms such as milk, yogurt or cheese.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin authored the Dairy Pride Act on Jan. 12 to protect the “integrity” of milk and other dairy products, and to make clear that plant-based products may not have the same nutritional value as their dairy alternatives. Under this law, almond milk and soy milk would not legally be allowed to be called milk.

“Dairy farmers in Wisconsin work tirelessly every day to ensure that their milk meets high standards for nutritional value and quality,” she said, in a statement. “Imitation products have gotten away with using dairy’s good name for their own benefit, which is against the law and must be enforced. Mislabeling of plant-based products as ‘milk’ hurts our dairy farmers.”

“While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, dairy imitators do not naturally provide the same level of nutrition as milk does,” added Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association.

But some vegan producers have hit back against Baldwin’s bill. “If a company is making a product that tastes like yogurt, feels like yogurt, happens to be made from almonds, why shouldn’t that company be able to use the word ‘yogurt?’,” Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, told Wisconsin Public Radio.

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