New NC Bill Would “Prohibit The Sale of Plant-Based Products Mislabeled as Milk”

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A new North Carolina bill, if passed, would ban all companies and stores from calling products that do not come from the “lacteal secretion” of “hooved mammals” as milk.

Senate Bill 711, now being called the ‘NC Farm Act of 2018’, would essentially force companies to rename ‘soy milk’, ‘coconut milk’, ‘almond milk’, ‘cashew milk’, etc. starting on January 1st, 2019.

Page 5 of SB 711 states;

DIRECT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES TO ADDRESS MISLABELING OF PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS AS “MILK”
SECTION 6.(a) The following definitions apply to this section:
(1) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(2) “FDA” means the United States Food and Drug Administration.
(3) “Milk” means the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy hooved mammals. Hooved mammals include, but are not limited to, the members of the Order Cetartiodactyla, such as: Family Bovidae (cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, yaks, etc.), Family Camelidae (llamas, alpacas, camels, etc.), Family Cervidae (deer, reindeer, moose, etc.), and Family Equidae (horses, donkeys, etc.).
SECTION 6.(b) In accordance with the established standard of identity for milk defined in 21 C.F.R. § 131.110 and the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, the Department shall immediately develop an enforcement plan to enforce FDA’s standard of identity for milk as adopted in the North Carolina Administrative Code to prohibit the sale of plant-based products mislabeled as milk.
SECTION 6.(c) No later than 90 days after the effective date of this act, the Department shall begin to implement its enforcement plan, which shall include, but is not limited to, notification of the Department’s intent to embargo all mislabeled products offered for sale in this State. All plant-based products displayed for sale in this State shall be labeled in accordance with FDA’s standard of identity for milk and the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance no later than January 1, 2019.

The Charlotte Observer sat in on the Senate’s Agriculture and Environmental Committee meeting yesterday and reported Republican Sen. Brent Jackson as saying, “The vast majority of the countries around the world already do not allow plant-based drinks to be labeled ‘milk’, and labeling plant-based liquids ‘milk’ is confusing to consumers. The products are fine, but they need to be properly labeled so the public understands what they’re buying.”

Senator Brent Jackson added, “North Carolina farmers need the measure – the dairy industry is in such dire shape.”

During their meeting, the Senate Agriculture and Environmental Committee approved the bill, and it will now go to the Senate Finance Committee for approval.

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