Our Opinion: Got… milk?

Surely the Food and Drug Administration has something better to do than launch a crackdown on producers of soy, almond and similar beverages labeled as “milk.” Apparently not.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is telling reporters that his agency may begin enforcing a federal regulation that stipulates milk comes from “milking of one or more healthy cows.”

Gottlieb explained the government has “standards of identity” for hundreds of foods. That makes sense, to an extent. After all, we can’t have pork being sold as beef or frozen yogurt marketed as ice cream.

“The question becomes, have we been enforcing our own standard of identity?” Gottlieb commented.

Perhaps if soy drinks were being labeled as milk with no note of their origin, or almond beverages were being portrayed as milk from cows, Gottlieb’s concern might be reasonable. But we challenge him to find either product in a package not labeled clearly and honestly.

What about other types of milk? That from coconuts? Or from goats? Or sheep? Or bison (yes, there is such a product)? We suspect most Americans expect the FDA to safeguard us from unhealthy and/or dangerous foods, beverages and drugs. What the agency does regarding the latter too often delays or prevents introduction of new life-saving medicines.

Dairy farmers and milk products manufacturers may think the FDA’s plan is the greatest thing since sliced (wheat) bread. But it sounds suspiciously like manufacturing a problem — job security for the agency’s food and drug police, however.

Surely the FDA can find something better to do, perhaps something that actually safeguards Americans rather than insulting our intelligence.