FDA Commissioner: "An Almond Doesn't Lactate"

Thanks to Food And Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb, I am now haunted by the image of an almond with tiny, tiny udders. Thanks for nothing, dude.

Gottlieb was speaking to this week's Politico Pro Summit on the topic of whether his agency will move to ban non-animal milks like soy milk and almond milk from using the term "milk." Then he had to go and say this: "If you look at our standard of identity [a government definition for food products], there is a reference somewhere in the standard of identity to a lactating animal, and you know an almond doesn't lactate, I will confess."

Thanks for clearing that up, Scotty.

His comment caused a stir in the dairy industry, which now speculates that the Food And Drug Administration may issue guidelines that prohibit the use of the word "milk" on products that don't come from animals. It's a move the dairy industry has pushed for, but one that makers of soy, almond, and other plant-based milks say is unnecessary.

According to analysis by Food Dive, Gottlieb is sending a message that "traditional dairy producers are about to score a big victory in their fight to keep plant-based beverages from using the word 'milk' on product labels." When and how exactly the FDA will do so is unclear; Gottlieb says changes to standards of identity would likely take at least a year.

French food authorities have already taken a similar step, banning words like steak, bacon, and filet from use on vegan products.