Assignment: Calcium and Vitamin D
This can have significant health consequences – contributing to under consumption of key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D for which dairy products are good sources in the U.S. population. The risk of under-consuming key nutrients may be heightened in children if parents substitute certain plant-based beverages for milk because children have less diverse diets than adults with fewer opportunities for other foods to provide those nutrients.
The FDA supports choice and innovation in the marketplace, and we recognize that some consumers may prefer to use plant-based products instead of dairy products for a variety of reasons, including an allergy or lifestyle choice. However, we must also ensure that the labeling of such products does not mislead consumers, especially if this could compromise their health and well-being.
We’re working on modernizing our standards of identity, which define through regulation certain characteristics, ingredients and quality of specific foods. These standards of identity help to ensure that consumers know “vanilla extract,” for example, will always be made from vanilla beans and not artificial flavorings. We’re on a fast track to take a fresh look at the labeling of products that are being positioned in the marketplace as substitutes for dairy products. And, today, we’ve taken the first step in this process by issuing a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register to solicit comments and feedback from the public to gain more insight into how consumers use plant-based alternatives and how they understand terms like “milk” or “cheese” when used to label products made, for example, from soy, peas or nuts. We’re interested to know if consumers are aware of, and understand, the nutritional characteristics and differences among these products — and between these products and dairy — when they make dietary choices for themselves and their families.
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