National Milk critical of California butter ruling, FDA


National Milk critical of California butter ruling, FDA

The National Milk Producers Federation says a California judge got it wrong when ruling a plant-based spread can use the term “butter” on its labels. 

Troy Detlefson tells Brownfield Judge Richard Seeborg’s ruling allows Miyoko Creamery to call its sunflower and coconut oil spread “butter” and does not confuse consumers since the package says vegan and made from plants. Detlefson says, “Consumer confusion has never been about what the product is or where it came from, a cow or a plant. The consumer confusion is about the nutrition and the nutritional inferiority of these plant-based products.”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture told Miyoko they couldn’t use the term butter, but the spread maker sued and won.  Detlefson says if the Food and Drug Administration were to enforce its own rules, it would make the judge’s ruling mute, but getting FDA to enforce standards of identity rules has been difficult for years.  That’s why Detlefson tells Brownfield he’s considering new litigation against the FDA. “If FDA is not enforcing its rules, it’s in effect rewriting the rules, and if they rewrite the rules and don’t follow the Administrative Procedures Act, they’re in violation of the law.”

Detlefson says he’s confident a suit against the FDA goes in favor of real dairy.  He is not aware if California will appeal the Miyoko ruling.