Apparently, as Sherry F. Colb reports in the above-linked article, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has a problem with non-dairy milk products like soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk using words like “milk” and “cream” in their names—as in, a serious problem. It’s to the point where they’ve got the FDA bullying select non-dairy beverage companies, as well as the makers of vegan cheese and ice cream substitutes (the horror!), into dropping the words from their product vocabulary altogether.
The whole thing is silly and unnecessary, if you ask me. I like the author’s take on why the use of words such as milk with these products is actually extremely useful and beneficial to those of us who either cannot or choose not to consume real dairy:
Someone who is accustomed to pouring milk into her coffee or cereal will, once she becomes a vegan, probably want to continue pouring something that has a flavor and texture similar to that of milk into her coffee and cereal. Knowing about "soy milk," "almond milk," "hazelnut milk," and "rice milk" makes her transition simple: she tries the various options and selects the ones she likes best. The label "soy beverage" (as the NMPF recommends as a substitute for "soy milk"), by contrast, would do nothing to let her and other vegan consumers know that the soy product she is buying serves a similar function to that of the dairy milk they consumed in the past.
So, if the NMPF has their way in this playground-type battle, Silk couldn’t refer to their stuff as soy milk anymore; it would have to be soy beverage. And Tofutti cream cheese would have to be called… kind-of-like cream cheese but not really because it has no cream?Ugh. I don't know. Time to grow up and find something real to fight over, dairy industry. Or at least, stop picking on the people who are just trying to do some genuine good for all the food-allergy suffering and animal-friendly souls out there.