Dairy advocacy group Dairy Connect has initiated an online petition aiming to stop makers of non-dairy drinks using the word ‘milk’ to describe their products.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said there was a constantly evolving range of products such as ‘soy milk’ and ‘almond milk’ vying for consumer attention.
“We have seen a rise in the number of dairy-imitations made from plants,” he said.
“We believe that this has been the source of confusion among consumers, some of whom equate the great nutritional benefits of cows’ milk with the plant drink alternatives.”
Dairy Connect said the traditional definition of milk by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand was a liquid drink derived from the ‘mammary secretions of milking animals’.
The group claims such a change would deliver a clearer distinction between the two product types, including potential presence of allergens or intolerances; greater consumer awareness about the nutritional variations between traditional fresh dairy milk and plant drinks describing themselves as milks; and greater clarity regarding the methods of formulation used in the two different categories
Morgan pointed out that the European Union Court of Justice this year ruled in favour of the need to differentiate between dairy products and plant derived products:
“In light of this, we would like to see Australia keep up with the progressive dairy labelling laws in overseas markets and we support the initiatives being progressed in Europe and the United States,” he said.
“We encourage members of the community and industry stakeholders to show their support for dairy farmers by signing the petition and sharing the campaign.”