A report from CNBC claims that Perfect Day Foods is creating synthetic milk using casein and whey proteins using genetically engineered yeast with DNA that produces the proteins found in cow’s milk.
The Silicon Valley company’s animal-free milk is also claimed to be better for the environment because it is “lactose-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, gluten-free and cholesterol-free.”
While this new dairy-free alternative serves as a new option for consumers, this does not mean everyone is okay with lab-created milk. Some dairy farmers are selling their farms due to a decline in sales that according to Mintel, has been going on since 2014, and is expected to continue until 2020.
A surge in new plant-based products in the market is also contributing to the dairy industry’s issues because plant-based products offer consumers healthier options. So non-dairy products have been rising about 61% according to Food Dive and does not seem to be letting up any time soon.
Perfect Day Food’s non-dairy milk will hurt dairy farmers in another way. According to Mike Eby, Chairman of the National Dairy Producers Organization, “If [processors] are successful in considering Perfect Day as milk, they [could] use Perfect Day to make ice cream or yogurt or cheese.” Eby continues, “And the worst part about it would be that it wouldn’t be labeled as such. No one would know the difference and they would actually claim there is no scientific difference.”
As a result, Perfect Day Food will be able to call their “milk,” milk as any company has the right under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). What dairy farmers are doing now is fighting against the term milk for products that you purchase when there is no animal, and in case, cow is involved.
There is no way to know the outcome of this debate but both sides have a lot riding on the decision. Sustainability is on the side of biotech companies and consumers seem to love their “milk” offerings, so the dairy industry will be in this fight for the long haul.