Similar to the milk lobby’s protest against words like soymilk, a sector of the beef industry is also unhappy with how some meat alternatives are labeled. We recently sent this Q&A to explain to our members what’s going on.
Plant Based Foods News
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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a set of recommendations on healthy eating that gets updated by the federal government every five years. The document is supposed to be based on the latest nutrition research and serves as a critical evidence-based tool for policy makers and health professionals. The Guidelines can have a significant impact because they often form the basis of federal nutrition policy and programs such as school food. Last week, PBFA submitted comments on the topics and scientific questions to help shape the 2020 update to the Guidelines. Learn more about the process here.
It should come as no surprise that PBFA believes the Guidelines should support a healthier diet by recommending increased consumption of plant-based foods. The 2015 Guidelines already identified a Vegetarian eating pattern as healthful and makes suggestions on how to modify for a vegan diet. Even though this Vegetarian Pattern exists, we suggest adding an additional Appendix specifically for a Vegan/Plant-Based Pattern to eliminate confusion on the need for dairy and eggs. This will encourage the public to choose from a variety of healthier plant-based food options.
In addition, we know that simply giving advice is not enough. Making plant-based foods more available and accessible is critical to ensuring healthy eating habits. Therefore, we propose adding the topic, “Social-Ecological Factors to Encourage Healthy Eating Patterns” to explore questions such as: What are effective behavioral, food environment, and policy interventions that can encourage and support increased consumption of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, whole grains, nuts, and seeds as part of a healthy diet? By exploring social factors as previous Guidelines and committees have, we can change our policies and food environment to support eating more healthful plant-based foods.
Our submission was included in this Food Navigator round-up called Stakeholders square up for battle over scope of 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Find us right after the milk lobby and cattle lobby’s input.)
Thanks to PBFA nutrition advisor Sherene Chou for helping to draft our letter and this blog post.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) recently claimed triumph over labeling of plant-based milks and other dairy alternatives with the passage of the $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending package, signed into law last Friday. Their “win” is in reference to a non-binding report attached to an earlier spending bill. Language in that report directs the Food and Drug Administration to establish standards of identity for dairy products. (The FDA already has standards of identity for dairy products, but never mind.)
What does this mean? The report language is not news at all given that it was first released last July, not in last week’s Omnibus Bill. Congressional committees often publish explanatory language to accompany legislation, which speaks to the Committee’s intent. Most importantly, report language is non-binding. (Learn more about report language here.) It is used to reflect the intent of Congress and can be used as a stepping stone to full legislation. In other words, the language that NMPF is celebrating has zero legal significance.
It’s unfortunate that the milk lobby has been deceiving the public by claiming “Congressional Spending Bill Includes DAIRY PRIDE Act Language in Victory for Milk Labeling Standards”. I have had to explain to a few reporters that report language is not the same as passing legislation and that our members are not impacted at all. It’s ironic that an organization claiming that PBFA member companies are deceiving consumers is itself engaged in its own form of deception. – Michele Simon
This year’s Natural Product Expo West left no doubt that the future of food is plant-based. We visited with 50 PBFA members who enthusiastically displayed our “Proud Member” signs.
Thanks to the generosity of Daiya Foods, PBFA staff had our first booth at Expo. We were delighted to engage with the constant flow of attendees inquiring about our work. Our sponsorship of the Seed & Wine event led to a great night of networking and relaxing.
In big news, we recently released PBFA’s first-ever farm bill platform! Just in time for Expo, Michele participated in a panel of industry leaders discussing the farm bill for 2018 (see the pix on Facebook). Please see our press release and the letter we sent to Congress. We received excellent media coverage in Politico.
We also hosted a successful happy hour, celebration of our 2nd anniversary. In just two short years we have grown to more than 200 company, affiliate, and investor members. (Thanks again to Daiya for the beer and food.)
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