The FSSAI in a draft labelled Vegan milk as “milk analogues” and stated that, ” for such products, the dairy term of phonetically similar or spell alike terms shall not be used in the nomenclature of the product.”
The practice of consumption of Vegan milk has been profound in Ancient India. The earliest fossils of coconuts were unearthed from Gujarat. Unlike North India where diary seems to be favoured more, South India has always made the inclusion of plant-based milk in their diets. From the ancient scraping of coconut flesh and steeping it in hot water to produce coconut milk. Milk was also made from cotton seeds and rice.
In the state of Karnataka, poppy seeds are used to make a delicious concoction thoroughly enjoyed by the locals. However, these alternatives apart from Coconut seemed to be squashed in the recent rise of Vegan milk types. The modern Veganism movements seem to only highlight Almond, Oat, Soy, Coconut as top milk alternatives, which reduces the palate of the vegans when the diet in reality has a wider range than we think.
It is no surprise that Veganism has also been on the rise in India. The demand for plant based milk has been rising among the lactose intolerant and vegans. It has also been highlighted among citizens worrying about the ethical treatment of milch animals in the dairy industry . If pointed ou, it seems to be more ethical in India as compared to other places.
Amul is an industry which works on the cooperative working of small farmers across the country. Farmers are generally more protective of their cattle and seem to inflict abuse on them lesser than the others. Hence Dairy industry mechanisms like Amul and Country Delight (currently functions only in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune) allegedly seem to be more aware of that.
FSSAI to rename plant-derived milk to “Dairy Analogue”
However, a recent jostle between the dairy industry and plant-based-milk industry petitions about restricting the use of the word “milk”. Since the dairy industry claims that they hold the highest form of purity when it comes to the definition of milk, the plant industry should debar from using it. Hench in a recently published draft, the FSSAI had labelled vegan milk as “milk analogues and for such products, the dairy term of phonetically similar or spell alike terms shall not be used in the nomenclature of the product.” (Source: TOI)
Similar battle was fought in the past. Most notably the naming of Ice creams with Vegetable oil to “Frozen Desserts.” As of now ice creams prepared completely from milk shall be known as Ice Creams while the rest will be labelled as “Frozen desserts.”
In 2017 Hindustan Unilever and Vadial Group had filed a complaint against Amul. The reason was that Amul aired an advertisement which demeaned the Frozen desserts and labelled them as impure while their Ice Creams as pure. Amul also made it seem like Frozen desserts were inferior to their desserts. Hence, the advertisement was taken down.
Another one was the banning of Vanaspati as an alternative for ghee– which is more expensive, unlike the vegan counterpart. Many a time people love to vie for the superiority in plant-based or dairy sourced milk. When in reality both of them have no major difference between them. Rather, a collective call should be taken to make sure the livelihood of milch animals is not threatened. As well as the lowering of prices and ramping up the production of plant-based milk and alternatives for every citizen. It should matter that food is provided to all without the danger of either life. Especially when India is officially in recession.