hey it’s Mike here and today we’re going to look at how animal product industries use labeling laws to attempt to snuff out their plant-based competition how in some cases they have almost succeeded and how now they are mounting a new attack this whole thing forces us to ask some existential questions like what is milk really what is meat actually what is cheese Who am I no we’re not going to go that deep whether it’s mayonnaise milk yogurt or even eggs there is a plant-based replacement and whatever company is making the animal-based version wants it gone on every front these vegan companies are cutting into profit vegan products are disruptive so disruptive startups man so hip simple example the dairy industry is down 13 percent in the last four years but plant milks are up fifty-four percent over the last five years and as you probably already know Unilever which owns Hellmann’s mayonnaise attacked Hampton Creek which owns just mail saying that it’s not mayo because it doesn’t have eggs and real mayonnaise should have eggs Unilever joined forces with the American Egg Board which said that Hampton Creek represented quote a crisis and major threat to the future of the egg product business welljust Mayo had to make some small changes so that our label Unilever failed to strip them of their just Mayo title and then went on to make their own vegan mayo if you can’t beat them be a raging hypocrite for profits and the battles wage on with recent US legislation being introduced to make it so milk is only milk if it’s cow’s milk that all the plant-based milks like almond soy etc would no longer be able to call themselves milk and we’ll look at all the details of that bill in a bit but first from a technical perspective what all this fuss is about is what are called standards of identity mandatory requirements which are set by a governing body that determined what a food product must contain to be marketed under a certain name in allowable commerce laws so that when you’re buying a box of raspberries you know it’s actually a raspberry instead of some molded dye blob gelatin so it’s not all bad but they can be oddly specific and disgusting in the US for example to qualify as a bona fide hot dog you need to possess at least 15% skeletal muscle you ever wonder why you can’t buy vegan white chocolate in the US the standard is that it needs to contain at least 14% milk solids and three and a half percent milk fat and what we call it vegan ice cream the packaging will never say that because according to the USDA ice cream must be at least 10 percent milk fat instead they’ll usually say non-dairy frozen desert seriously take a look for yourself cheese’s might say cultured nut products and cheesecakes might be spelled with a Z but it’s pretty clear that some of these standards of identity are just plain out-of-date with many being over 50 or 60 years old as just Mayo creator Josh tetrax says in the book biting the hand that feeds us quote we need to update our regulations to fit a modern world with modern problems and some of the solutions that are being used to fix them especially in food and some limitations are just bad the USDA is food standards and labeling policy guidebook which is really just intended to be a guide for manufacturers so they don’t have misleading labels shows how old-school it can be like how a taco must contain at least 15% meat they can’t even look at a samosa without seeing a meat turnover and require me to be added to this dish from a traditionally vegetarian culture it’s like the meat industry hired a nine year old to discreetly hide meat in the definition of everything apple pie looks like me pack contains apples let’s continue at least 10 percent meat thankfully the enforcement of these definitions and sometimes the particular definitions themselves is largely up to the states but one state in particular New York has been a little bit more brazen in the realm of plant milks the company Oh milk in New York makes plant milk from cashews and almonds and after some success in passing multiple inspections they were notified by the state of New York that their product was actually mellow mothering was a dairy product that acted as a cheaper alternative to milk in the 60s that is essentially just milk that is cut with vegetable oil and vegetable proteins to protect milk producers in the 60s New York made legislation so that Melo REME could not be labeled as milk therefore Oh milk would have to take the milk label off of their product and label it as either mellow ream or a vegetable oil product if they were forced to meet melamine regulations they would also have to pasteurize all of these things together could have squashed the company thankfully they were able to get a good lawyer go to court and simply argue that they weren’t mellow ream because they didn’t have any dairy and nuts art vegetables oh close call zooming out certain countries already don’t allow plant milks to be called milk and certain parties in the US would like it to be the same recently the dairy industry and Congress have teamed up together to create a bill so that it would be illegal to call plant milk milk it’s called the dairy pride act an acronym that is trying way too hard defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt milk and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy everyday act I don’t know where the m-and-c in the Middle West may be dairy Mik prides packed and promoting milk intake every day this sounds like a dairy industry memo the bill was introduced into Congress for review a couple months ago and was accompanied by a letter signed by 32 congressmen and women if these back-pocket dairy Congress people get their way it would make it so the FDA definition of milk applied to plant milk and had to be enforced that definition is quote lacteal secretion practically free from colostrum young obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows so plant milks would just become dairy free beverages but wait a minute healthy cows oh boy are you in for it from this USDA paper quote results showed that 89% of US dairy operations had cattle seropositive for bovine leukemia virus and well that’s probably only a quarter of the cows they mix all the milk to get and that doesn’t count utter infection from this paper quote intra memory infections as defined by positive milk cultures were present in 48.5% of all cows at other diseases like the common bovine respiratory disease and it’s pretty clear that virtually all milk needs to be taken off the shelf to follow their definition healthy cows and this definition of milk is already inherently flawed it doesn’t even include human breast milk so are we supposed to go to all the milk banks and say oh sorry you got to change it from breast milk to human dairy alternatives sorry ma’am you don’t have hooves the whole thing is pretty ridiculous but let’s see what the dairy industry has to say about all of this here is what a dairy producer told CBS patty Leonard’s family has been farming in Northern Virginia for almost a century she milks her cows twice daily and says non-dairy milk products are successful because they’re misleading they are using the good name and the good qualities and the standard of milk to share their product we have seen a drop-off in consumption of dairy products what makes it all the more important that we have a clear definition and a clear standard so that our consumers have a clear understanding of what they’re purchasing and there’s no confusion she’s at least pretending that labeling really is a factor in their sales dropping like oops I’ve accidentally bought coconut milk for the last five years I didn’t notice until right now milk sales aren’t going down because people are accidentally buying plant milks because of the labels they are purposefully buying plant milks because the dairy industry is brutal forcefully in pregnant cows and then tears their calves away from them real milk is loaded with mammalian estrogens which studies show actually manipulate your blood levels of hormones and well some people like me would say plant milks actually taste better here’s what Chris Galen who works for The Milk Producers Federation says I’ve never milked a soybean I don’t supposed to be crack one open you’d find much milk or any liquid there all we want is for the government to do its job and to enforce the regulations on the books that says yo got milk if it comes from a nut or a seed and from the independent according to the author of the dairy pride act Tammy Baldwin the situation with the labels isn’t fair because Wisconsin dairy farmers quote worked tirelessly every day to ensure that their milk meets high standards for nutritional value and quality I think you mean working tirelessly to keep the pus cell count down while cramming as many cows together as possible during milking not a problem for coconuts interestingly one dairy company had a unique response to declining sales instead of blaming plant-based milk companies they became a plant-based milk company very recently announced Elmhurst Dairy who shut their cow dairy operation is now relaunching with all plant-based milk but when looking at this whole milk debacle it’s important to note that we do have a legal precedent here when this class-action lawsuit challenged the claim of plant-based milk labels one judge ruled on the topic that quote it is simply implausible that a reasonable consumer would mistake a product like soy milk or almond milk with dairy milk from a cow the first words in the product names should be obvious enough to even the least discerning of consumers but moving on there have been some interesting situations in the realm of meat and plant-based meat as well field roast sausages were actually booted from Canada in 2014 after an unnamed competitor filed a complaint it’s anything like the other cases you can bet that that competitor was animal-based sausage they were asked to rebrand real Abel and take a protein analysis test for proteins that didn’t exist in their product like soy and they were also asked to test on animals in 2015 they managed to return with a new label they had to add protein and the words simulated sausage to the package I don’t know about you but I don’t want to take a ride in a sausage simulator welcome to the sausage simulator you will now be ground alive you can see from the package instead of saying grain Meat Company under-filled roasted it now just says company and thankfully from the company’s website quote field roast was approved to use an alternative method which did not involve any animals we are a vegan company after all the semantics have also been a recent issue for EU Parliament with Italian parliament member Paulo de Castro challenging the notion that you can use specialty meat names for vegan and vegetarian products like vegan prosciutto or vegan Bologna it appears that castro is a friend of the animal product industries previously saying that one of his top priorities for example was the EU milk sector so this is an issue all over the world but going back to the US and their standards of identity ironically it’s okay to call a turkey which is in the shape of a ham a turkey ham it doesn’t matter that ham is a pig leg by definition and a turkey is a bird because it doesn’t impede profits for them and it’s okay because underneath it they put cured turkey thigh meat until they remove this definition it should simply be that plant-based products can use terms like cheese milk yogurt and meat if they first put the plant name before it and then clearly state that as an alternative below like coconut yogurt underneath that cultured dairy alternative or these plainly specify no dairy but to roll out the dairy pride act and crack down on these definitions would just have too many implications what about peanut butter butter from peanuts it’s not quote made exclusively from milk or cream so take all the peanut butter and jelly off the shelves rip the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of children’s hand sorry Bobby no peanut butter and jelly it’s illegal in the end if anything all of this is a good sign the animal-based product industries are majorly threatened by these growing plant-based industries if anything they’re just exaggerating the idiocy of consumers as an excuse to squash the competition the vegan products and the likelihood of the dairy pride Act passing given the previous ruling that it’s okay to call almond milk milk and for what it’s worth predict go has given a 1% chance of passing but the increased demand for plant-based products is simply the way of the market and companies are going to have to adapt like Elmer’s to did and these plant based replacements are only getting more and more delicious and ubiquitous and people are becoming more aware of the dairy industry’s cruelty and humane washing things are desperately trying to hide so I think we’re going to see more attacks like this in the future all right that’s it feel free to let me know if there were any crazy labeling laws where you live that I didn’t mention down below hit the like button if you learned something subscribe if you want more and thank you for watching [Music]