The issue has been raised at a Senate inquiry hearing into the dairy industry.

The dairy group says “milk” is defined by Food Standards as the mammary secretion of milking animals and its use on soy and almond products was confusing consumers.

Almond, soy and rice milks command shelf prices that dairy farmers can only dream of, but Dairy Connect says they do not have the same nutritional benefits of cow’s milk.

Shaughn Morgan, chief executive of the group, said: “We’re not trying to constrict a product, it’s about appropriate labelling so that whether it’s milked from a mammal or a product from a plant, people can make an informed decision.”

Market competition

Dairy Australia says plant-based milk had some impact on dairy milk sales, but these alternatives also compete with each other.

Non-dairy milks have 6.1% of the volume and 9.4% of the market by value, which reflects the price differential.

In the US, a bipartisan group of 32 congressmen have sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, asking them to investigate and take action against the manufacturers of “fake milk” that doesn’t come from cows.

In the US, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) characterises such labelling as a misappropriation of the “traditional dairy terms” and says “food labels” should clearly and accurately identify the true nature of the food to the consumer.

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