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 Dairy farmers want US regulators to Banish the term “soy milk” : But Why?

The sour history over who gets to use “milk” reaches back to at least 1997, when a soy foods group petitioned the FDA to recognize the term “soymilk"

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soy milk
A photo shows the ingredients label for soy milk at a grocery store in New York, Feb. 16, 2017. The dairy industry says terms like “soy milk” violate the federal standard for milk, but even government agencies have internally clashed over the proper term.VOA
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture “fervently” wanted to use the term “soy milk” in educational materials for the public
  • That irked the Food and Drug Administration, the agency that oversees the rule defining milk as coming from healthy cows
  • The sour history over who gets to use “milk” reaches back to at least 1997, when a soy foods group petitioned the FDA to recognize the term “soymilk”

New York, July 4, 2017: Dairy farmers want U.S. regulators to banish the term “soy milk,” but documents show even government agencies haven’t always agreed on what to call such drinks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture “fervently” wanted to use the term “soy milk” in educational materials for the public, according to emails recently released in response to a lawsuit. That irked the Food and Drug Administration, the agency that oversees the rule defining milk as coming from healthy cows.

It’s “not a trivial decision,” the FDA warned in one of the 2011 emails about the USDA’s desire to use the term.

The sour history over who gets to use “milk” reaches back to at least 1997, when a soy foods group petitioned the FDA to recognize the term “soymilk”. A couple of years later, the group pointed out that the FDA itself had used the term. Even now, the National Milk Producers Federation says it’s working to build support for legislation directing the FDA to enforce the federal standard. The dairy group says both “soy milk” and “soymilk” are inappropriate ways to describe non-dairy drinks made from soybeans, and that the one-word version is just an attempt to get around the definition.

ALSO READNDDB accounts for 90 percent of milk production in India: T Nanda Kumar

There are plenty of other food names at issue. A European Union court recently ruled that a company named TofuTown can’t describe its products as “cheese.” U.S. rice producers have railed against “pretenders ” like diced cauliflower and said they may take the issue to the FDA.

But the FDA hasn’t even always been able to get other agencies to go along, as illustrated in the emails obtained by the Good Food Institute, which advocates alternatives to industrial animal agriculture. The GFI sued the FDA for public records relating to soy milk.

The email exchange started when a nutrition adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services alerted the FDA that the USDA planned to use “soy milk” in educational materials about dietary guidelines.

“USDA staff are preparing consumer publications and fervently want to use the term ‘soy milk’ because beverages are widely marketed this way,” the adviser wrote.

The FDA bristled and provided the federal definition of milk as a “lacteal secretion” from cows. Therefore, the FDA declared that referring to soy, almond and rice drinks as “milk” would be incorrect. It suggested the other agency say “beverage” or “fortified beverage.”

When that didn’t put the matter to rest, the FDA warned that the USDA’s use of the term could undermine the FDA’s regulatory authority.

That apparently didn’t stop the USDA, either.

“They are adamant about using the term in consumer publications,” the nutrition adviser wrote. The USDA had indicated that it would use “soy beverage” in official policy documents, but it wanted to use “plain language” in materials for the public.

Despite the federal regulation, others may also consider “soy milk” an acceptable term. The Merriam-Webster dictionary doesn’t limit milk’s definition to cows, saying it is “a fluid secreted by the mammary glands of females for the nourishment of their young.”

It also allows for a “food product produced from seeds or fruit that resembles and is used similarly to cow’s milk.”

Asked how the spat was resolved, the USDA provided materials from 2011 that use both terms by referring to “soymilk (soy beverage).” The agency also uses the term elsewhere, including on its “Choose My Plate” website, which currently says “calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage)” is part of the dairy group.

The National Milk Producers Federation says the USDA’s usage of the term shows even other government agencies are confused about how to describe soy beverages in the absence of consistent enforcement by the FDA.

The FDA declined to comment. (VOA)

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Young Dairy Farmers from Rajasthan’s Kota City sell Cow Dung Cakes online on Amazon

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Cow dung, Wikimedia

Jaipur, May 7, 2017: Three young entrepreneurs from Rajasthan’s Kota city — otherwise known as an education hub — have taken their 15-year-old dairy farming family business to the next level and are now selling cow dung cakes on e-tailing site Amazon.

“We found potential in this business. For the last three months, we have been selling cow dung cakes on Amazon,” Amanpreet Singh, one of the three directors of APEI Organic Foods, said.

These cakes, about the size of a quarter-plate, are priced at Rs 120 per dozen. They currently have an average sale of 15 consignments — each of 500-1,000 cakes — per week.

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“We are getting a good response, mainly from Mumbai, Delhi and Pune,” Singh said.

The product is packaged in such a way that the cakes don’t break.

For starters, the dung, which is a semi-liquid mixture, is first dried. It is then put into a circular die which goes through a heat-shrinking process. The finished product is then packed in cardboard boxes and dispatched.

Singh stated that the idea of reaching out to buyers online came due to the demand from Tier-I cities, where there is lack of any livestock management and dairies. “People basically want it for religious purposes in these cities,” Singh added.

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The company’s livestock farm is spread over 40 acres near Kota and has 120 cows. It is equipped with modern infrastructure, effective connectivity, skilled manpower and other amenities.

The family-owned organic dairy milk brand is aptly titled “GAU” — meaning cow — but has been derived from the initials of the three directors, Gagandeep Singh, Amanpreet Singh and Uttamjyot Singh.

The promoters are likely to be in great demand at the forthcoming Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) being held in Kota from May 24 to 26.

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Singh said that the fodder for the cows is grown organically in a healthy and well-nurtured environment. Waste from the dairy farm is utilised to produce electricity, gas, vermicompost and cowdung cakes.

The company has installed radio-frequency identification (RFID) on the livestock which helps them track the health and nutrition of the cattle from anywhere across the world.

The director claimed that this dairy farm also has Rajasthan’s first biogas plant that generates electricity. This is the only source of electricity at the farm, producing 40 KW per day. This saves around Rs 24 lakh annually, he added. (IANS)

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Zika Virus Fight: FDA Plans To Exterminate Disease With Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

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Zika virus

There is a new plan to combat the growing threat of Zika virus with genetically modified mosquitoes; the F.D.A. has given preliminary approval to conduct a trial just north of Key West on Saturday. Experts claimed that these insects are unlikely to harm humans, animals or the environment. “The consequences of escape, survival, and establishment of…

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Spicy lies: Yippee ad claims being safe, FDA disagrees

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img1440393117822By NewsGram Staff Writer

After the recent Maggi ban and its subsequent upliftment, now Yippee noodles is on the path of courting controversy.

Today’s  Hindustan Times flashed a huge brightly colored advertisement that claims that Yipee is safe and bases the claim on a number of tests it underwent to prove its credibility. However, Indian Express, dated 24th August 2015, in a report claims that excessive lead has been found in the samples of Yippee noodles.

The report says that Uttar Pradesh Food and Drug Authority (FDA) recently found excess lead in ITC’s Yippee noodles. The samples tested contained lead amount  “in excess to the permissible limit”. The tested samples had 1.057 ppm of lead as against the permissible amount of below 1 ppm.

The report has been sent to the FDA Chief Commissioner for permission before filing an official case.