If it looks like milk, and smells like milk…is it “Milk?”


What is “fake milk?”

Today’s dairy aisle boasts an impressive array of milk alternatives, including products from soy, rice, almonds, coconuts, and more. Many of these products have enjoyed time in the limelight due to consumers looking to fulfill particular dietary requirements, like those seeking lactose-free products.

To be labeled and sold as “milk” in the U.S., the product must meet strict standard of identity requirements, set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For example, to meet the standard of identity, whole milk must contain at least 8.25% milk solids non fat and at least 3.25% fat. Skim milk must contain no more than 0.2% fat. There are additional requirements regarding vitamin addition, etc.

Having a standard of identity for a product like milk is important. When these standards are in place, a consumer can be confident the product they purchase is high quality, and consistent every time they buy, no matter if they’re in New York City, California, or anywhere in between. Most food products undergo a set of quality tests before they reach the grocery shelf, but not all products have a standard of identity.

Thanks to strict food safety requirements and the vigilance of dairy farmers, transporters, and processors, milk is one of the safest, and highest quality foods in the US. Milk is controlled for quality and food safety throughout every step in the milk supply chain. In terms of food safety and regulatory compliance, the dairy industry has paved the way for other food manufacturing categories.

Most Americans don’t consume raw milk anymore – in fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and FDA recommend not drinking unpasteurized milk, due to associated food safety risks. (The consumption of raw milk is a hot issue with some consumers. For more about pasteurization and milk, click here and learn about the dangers of consuming raw milk.)

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