The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told an audience at a July 17 Politico Pro Summit in Washington, D.C., that his agency will soon begin enforcing regulations that define milk as an animal product, not a plant-based food. NMPF said his remarks are an indication the federation’s requests for action by the agency are being heard.

After acknowledging that “an almond doesn’t lactate,” Gottlieb said FDA soon will seek public input as a prelude to enforcing existing regulations on dairy labeling standards, NMPF noted.

“After years of inaction in response to our complaints about these labeling violations, Dr. Gottlieb’s announcement that the agency is intending to act on this issue is very encouraging,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based NMPF. “The marketing of non-dairy imitators must comply with federal standards of identity, and consumers should not be misled that these products have the same nutrition as real milk, yogurt, cheese and other actual dairy products.”

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC), Green Bay, Wis., also applauded Gottlieb for taking action to provide consistency and clarity for consumers across the nation.

“As we see dairy farmers from across the U.S. suffering with low milk and other commodity prices, tariff uncertainty and lack of reliable labor force, this news finally provides a positive movement in the dairy industry,” said Laurie Fischer, CEO of ADC.