PETA Points Out That FDA Can and Should Ban Cow’s Milk From Unhealthy Cows and Expand Modernize Definition of ‘Milk’

Sinking Dairy Industry May Face Backlash in Its Struggle to Thwart Rising Soy- and Almond-Milk Sales

For Immediate Release:
January 4, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Washington – Now that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering the dairy industry’s request that plant-based milks be banned because they fail to meet the definition of “milk,” PETA has this morning called on the agency to look instead into expanding the outdated definition to include beverages made from soy, almonds, hemp, rice, and other plants and to consider that selling milk obtained from cows with mastitis (udder infections) and other illnesses commonly found on dairy factory farms is illegal—yet unenforced—under the existing definition. Government regulations currently allow pus from infected cows in every jug of cow’s milk.

In its letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, PETA points out that by the agency’s own current definition, unless the secretion is from a “healthy” cow, it should not be sold as “milk,” but no action is taken to enforce this guideline—even though government documents and PETA investigations of U.S. dairy farms have shown that mastitis is rampant in the industry, meaning that there’s pus in cow’s milk.

“Healthy and humane plant-based milks are flying off the shelves, and the dairy industry is in a state of panic,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to refuse to prop up the dairy industry at the expense of soy, hemp, oat, and nut farmers.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that while low prices and even lower demand prompted the dairy industry to speak out against plant-based milks, these beverages now represent a booming $1.3 billion industry. Dairy farmers facing a loss of customers and drought have even converted to plant-based operations instead.

PETA’s letter to the FDA is available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind