Feb 06, 2017
In a letter to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee members this week, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the Soyfoods Association of North America (SANA) objected to draft legislation that would restrict the marketing of soymilk.
1.130, referred to as the Dairy Pride Act, would prohibit the term “milk” from being used with soymilk and soymilk-based products, under the premise that the term “milk” is misleading to consumers.
“This legislation is unnecessary as no confusion in the market exists,” argued ASA President Ron Moore and SANA President Wendy Behr in the letter, noting that the term “soymilk” has been in commercial use since 1947. “Consumers of soymilk clearly understand that the product is derived from soybeans rather than bovine milk, and a large percentage consume it for just that reason due to dietary choices or restrictions.”
Rebutting the contention of marketplace confusion, the letter cited a 2006 SANA study that found that out of more than 800 respondents, none believed cow’s milk to be an ingredient in soymilk. Moore and Behr also highlighted the growth of the soyfoods market, which created more than $4.5 billion in value in 2013.
In the letter, Moore and Behr underscored the dual nature of the soybean industry as both a supplier of feed for dairy cows, as well as a supplier of soybeans and soybean meal to soyfoods producers. “As farmers, many ASA members also raise dairy cows; all soybean farmers are feed providers to the dairy industry. More than two million metric tons of soybean meal feed American dairy cows each year. We understand the crisis in the dairy market and have publicly stated our support for revision of dairy policies in the next farm bill,” they wrote. “At the same time, soyfoods and in particular the soymilk market is not only a growing one for our industry, it is a key point of connection between farmers and consumers.”
This morning’s letter follows a separate letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent by SANA last week, in which the organization concluded that use of the name "soymilk" complies with FDA regulations on common or usual names, and noted that soymilk has been included in USDA materials dating back to 1963.
A full copy of the letter can be found by clicking here.