- Physicians Commission for Responsible Medicine filed a complaint with The USDA Inspector General described the campaign by the National Liquid Milk Processors Acceleration Program (known as the Program). Milk PEP – Counterfeit product ‘Wood Milk’ violated laws against negative product depictions and banning advertising to influence policy.
- As MilkPEP is a promotional arm funded by the USDA’s Checkoff Program, the Department’s Agricultural Marketing Services is tasked with approving campaigns. The Physician’s Board said the campaign was illegal and called for immediate retraction and an investigation into how it was approved in the first place.
- This campaign was launched during the public comment period. FDA’s draft guidelines for labeling plant-based milks. The deadline for comments is July 31st.
While the dairy industry has never been shy about its feelings about plant-based milk, wood milk campaignwhich Released on April 20tharticulated it in a bold and new way.
The campaign depicts A fictional company founded by actress Aubrey Plaza that turns trees into milk.at the end Video of Plaza talking about Wood Milk In the woods she says: “Is Wood Milk real?” She said absolutely not. Only real milk is real. ”
In its complaint, the Medical Commission said the campaign was designed to provoke backlash against plant-based milks. The campaign features the iconic “Got Milk?” white mustache image. This campaign was originally created by the California Milk Processors Commission.
“The USDA-approved ad uses a fictitious product called ‘Wood Milk’ as a substitute for plant-based milk, mocking plant-based milk as ‘fake’ and ‘slime’ with ‘zero nutritional value,'” it said. It is in the complaint. .
This campaign will be provocative regardless of who sponsors it, but Checking off liquid milk is subject to a whole other level of scrutiny. This program is one of many general agricultural promotion programs administered by the Department of Agriculture aimed at expanding the dairy market in the United States. The program is funded by evaluating milk that is processed and sold to consumers.
and Checkoffs managed by The USDA requires certain rules to be followed in marketing campaigns. The complaint says that “Woodmilk” has broken two of these. The campaign claims to disrespect plant-based milks such as Wood Milk. The campaign states that Wood Milk is not “real milk.” It is “fake” and has “zero nutritional value”.
Meanwhile, plant-based milks, including those made from soybeans, oats and almonds, have long been labeled “milk,” and the FDA’s draft guidance would allow them to retain that label.
Although the FDA has proposed on the label of plant-based milks to address nutritional differences from cow’s milk, the products do have nutritional value. The complaint points out that the USDA recognizes soy milk and almond milk as components of a healthy diet.
The complaint also says the timing of the campaign was intended to influence comments on the FDA’s draft guidance. MilkPEP CEO Yin Ung Lani points out what he mentioned in an article. Campaign articles It was published in The Little Black Book, a marketing industry publication.
This isn’t the first time the USDA Checkoff Program has come under scrutiny for how its funds were used to target the plant-based industry.
About 10 years ago, members of the American Egg Board (Checking Off Eggs) started their activities. Working on ways to stop plant-based Just Mayonow a discontinued product manufactured by Hampton Creek. Known as Eatjust.part of check funds head to pro egg adsIt popped up when people searched online for plant-based seasonings.
In the survey The USDA found that egg check-off was being performed improperly and required training on check-off program guidelines.
Egg Checkoff and Hampton Creek Situation Inspired 2016 Legislation Reforming Merchandise Check-Off Program Increase transparency and crack down on anti-competitive behavior. It has not yet been passed and a form of the same law exists. still being proposed.
Milk PEP and the USDA did not respond to a request for comment.