Comical plot twist coming your way.
But first, a smidge of background:
In case you missed it, the dairy industry has been spending its time these days campaigning to outlaw terms like “soy milk,” “almond milk,” “cashew cheese,” and other names that describe plant-based dairy products. This battle has been surprisingly heated as cow-based dairy sales continue to decline and the industry is looking for a (plant-based) scapegoat.
So I nearly spit out my soymilk latte when I heard the latest from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF):
As reported by the Associated Press, the NMPF is now agreeing with the reasoning of plant-based dairy producers who say there’s no need to change labels. At least, it is in one instance, now that the EU wants to claim exclusive rights to the name “Parmesan.”
While NMPF isn’t easing up on plant-based dairy, it is using the arguments posed by The Good Food Institute and plant-based producers in its fight to keep using Parmesan on the labels of cheese that is not from Parma, Italy.
Let’s compare, shall we? Here are the best soundbites from the letter signed by the NMPF and 13 other groups:
- The European Union “seeks to secure a monopoly on certain common names for meats, cheeses, wines” — just like the dairy industry has tried to do on certain common names for plant-based products;
- The word “Parmesan” is a generic term that is in common usage — which mirrors plant-based dairy producers’ defense of “soy milk” and “almond milk” labels;
- The products from cheese makers in the U.S. “may be forced to be sold under different, unfamiliar names” — exactly what would happen to plant-based dairy products if producers were barred from using terms like “milk” and “cheese.”
Talk about self-defeating.
Stay tuned for the latest dairy hoopla. And if you're curious about the rest of GFI's work, click here!