FDA head Scott Gottlieb is going to milk his authority for all it’s worth by suddenly having a regulatory problem with anything that doesn’t come from an animal being called “milk.”

Dear Reader,

The FDA has gone from bad to udderly ridiculous!

In an obvious move to kowtow to the dairy industry, FDA head Scott Gottlieb is going to milk his authority for all it’s worth by suddenly having a regulatory problem with anything that doesn’t come from an animal being called “milk.”

“An almond doesn’t lactate,” he said at a recent conference.

Experts have already jumped in, saying that calling fluid from a coconut or a plant “milk” is “common usage,” something that’s been going on for centuries. Even if you consult the dictionary, you’ll find it there… a food that’s “produced from seeds or fruit” that resembles what comes out of a cow.

Nevertheless, sales of moo milk are down, while almond, rice, cashew, oat, and coconut milks are flying out of the stores… and with good reason.

Because as far as dairy milk goes, especially the low-fat varieties, it could just as easily be called poison.

Milk money

As you might imagine, the dairy industry has been crying over this spilt milk for decades now, hoping that some regulatory savior would come along and do something!

Well, if anyone can help protect the interests of Big Dairy, it’s certainly Commissioner Gottlieb.

But the whole idea that almond, rice, or coconut milk is going to confuse consumers — that your everyday shopper will pick up a carton of one of these beverages thinking that it’s dairy milk — is basically what this entire FDA action will depend on.

And Gottlieb is already grasping at straws, trying to prove that people are being misled by the milk name and having serious problems as a result.

In his announcement of the planned attack on plant-based beverages last week, he dropped lots of agency lingo and nutritional warnings, such as a “case study” of a child who got a protein deficiency called “kwashiorkor” after “being fed” rice milk. Then, there was another unnamed toddler who came down with rickets (which comes from a severe vitamin D deficiency) after the child’s parents served soy instead of cow’s milk.

But I’m sure he had to look far and wide to find some remote cases where parents weren’t properly caring for their kids to make any kind of connection that there’s a danger here. Where there is a clear and present danger, however, is with dairy milk. And that’s something the FDA hasn’t lifted a finger to fix.

First, there’s the ongoing issue with some farmers injecting cows with a genetically modified drug called recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBST, to increase milk production.

For decades now, we’ve known that this drug causes serious health problems in cows, such as udder infections (meaning they get dosed with plenty of antibiotics).

And bovines that get shot up with rBST tend to produce another hormone, one called IGF-1. People who have been found to have high levels of IGF-1 in their bodies from drinking milk from those cows are known to have a significantly increased risk of developing colon, prostate, and breast cancers.

Then, there’s the not-so-little issue of bovine leukemia virus, or BLV, a deadly cow disease linked to human cancers that milk pasteurization not only doesn’t kill, but has been found to make even more potent!

The fact that plenty of cows (one study found it in 9 out of 10 herds) carry BLV is no surprise to the industry or the USDA. And although milk can easily be screened for the virus, the feds don’t require it!

But of all the problems with dairy, the low-fat versions might take the prize.

As we told you last year, a big study out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that after looking at 25 years of data on over 100,000 people, those who had three or more servings of low-fat dairy a day had a 34 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to those who had none or small amounts.

Fortunately, the rise in popularity of beverages such as rice, almond, and coconut milk is something the FDA won’t be able to stop no matter what ridiculous conclusions it comes to. It will simply result in millions of tax dollars being spent to support more bureaucratic busy work.

As far as choosing the best kind of plant or nut milk goes, look for ones made from organic ingredients whenever possible — and always make sure that what you’re buying contains no carrageenan, a thickener known to cause GI problems.

And someone should tell Gottlieb that while an almond doesn’t lactate, it also doesn’t get injected with growth hormones or contain a cancer-causing virus!

To Ditching the Dairy,
Melissa Young

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