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Aussie farmers demand plant-based alternatives drop 'milk' label

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 12, 2019
Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie
Australia   Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie

The Australian government has come under pressure from dairy farmers to preclude products that do not contain dairy from being labelled as "milk."

In a letter to Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie and the Chair of the Ministerial Food Forum Richard Colbeck, the Australian Dairy Farmers group called for a "holistic review of labelling and marketing on non-dairy alternatives."

If it goes ahead the crackdown would apply to non-dairy milk alternatives such as soy milk and almond milk, which are popular among vegans who do not consume any animal products.

It follows a decision by the European Court of Justice in 2017 to ban plant-based products from being called milk.

"Australia needs to restore truth in product labelling so that consumers can make more accurate food and beverage choices," Australian Dairy Farmers president Terry Richardson said in a statement on Thursday.

"Over the past decade, a growing number of plant-based products have cropped up, using the name milk, co-opting the look and feel of dairy milk right down to the packaging, and trading on dairy's reputation to gain a marketing advantage," Richardson said

The group said that allowing plant-based alternatives have gained a marketing advantage by using the name milk.

A survey conducted in 2017 by Dairy Australia, the national body representing the dairy industry, found that 54 percent of respondents believed that plant-based alternatives were healthier than dairy-based milk.

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