The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) urged federal and state food regulators to take enforcement action against imitation dairy product “Blue Magic Cashew Milk” for continuing to ignore federal standards of identity for dairy products.
In a letter sent today to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, NMPF said that use of the standardized dairy term “milk” on a plant-based imitation made mostly from nuts and water is a violation of government standards defining milk as the product of a dairy animal.
“This ‘Blue Magic’ product completely ignores clearly-defined regulations specifying what milk is, and is deceiving to consumers seeking appropriate levels of milk’s actual nutrition for their families,” said Jim Mulhern, President, and CEO of NMPF. “This beverage is not a nutritional substitute for real milk, regardless of its blatant attempt to co-opt dairy terms.”
NMPF first evaluated Blue Magic Milk, manufactured by California company Urban Remedy, in June 2017 as part of a marketplace survey examining the nutrients in imitation dairy foods. NMPF found that of the 244 beverages it reviewed, Blue Magic’s two-cup serving contained the highest sodium content, grams of fat and calories. Even a half-serving (1 cup) featured the highest calories and fat of all products surveyed and was second highest in its sodium level.
By contrast, real low-fat milk, per cup, has more than four times the amount of Vitamin A, 3 grams more protein, and 285 mg more calcium as Urban Remedy’s imitation version. Additionally, a serving of Blue Magic has 78 more calories, 10 grams more fat and 130 milligrams more sodium. An entire 16-ounce bottle of Blue Magic contains 470 mg of sodium — the equivalent of a fast-food hamburger.
This action is the second time this year that NMPF has raised objections to federal and state authorities regarding Blue Magic Milk. Following its initial review of imitation products, National Milk raised its concerns with the FDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture in June. Shortly thereafter, Urban Remedy made minor alterations to the beverage’s label, renaming the product as “Blue Magic Cashew Milk.” But according to NMPF, the beverage is still using the standardized term “milk,” without offering the same nutrition as real milk, triggering today’s follow-up letter to the agencies pointing out the continued violations in the labeling of the product.
This action against Blue Magic Cashew Milk is part of a new campaign by NMPF that will call attention to other imitation products that inappropriately use dairy terminology on their labels. Calling the effort “Dairy Imitators: Exposed,” it will draw attention to these products’ lack of compliance with federal standards, and their nutritional deficiencies when compared to real milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy foods.
“The effort will further demonstrate to consumers, FDA and manufacturers of these powder, water and vitamin mixtures that simply calling something ‘milk’ don’t give it the natural richness of the real thing with its nine essential nutrients,” Mulhern said. “Despite their desire to steal the halo of real dairy foods, these companies must be forced to end their deceptive labeling tactics.”