The Guardian: Animal-free “dairy” coming to market soon

What this article buries at the end is — you know — the actual legal definition of milk (after the article excerpt):

“After lab-grown meat, get ready for animal-free cow’s milk. A San-Francisco startup believes it has found a solution for the guilty conscience of consumers who love eating dairy ice-cream, cheese and yoghurt, but oppose factory-style farming and its environmental footprint.
Through a combination of yeast, cow DNA and plant nutrients, Perfect Day claims to have created a product identical in taste and nutritional value to cow’s milk, but without any udders involved.”

Example current marketing copy

From Perfect Day corporate website.


Current legal definition of milk (USA)

From Code of Federal Regulations (United States), 21 CFR 133.3 — Definitions:

§ 133.3 Definitions.
(a) Milk means the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows, which may be clarified and may be adjusted by separating part of the fat therefrom; concentrated milk, reconstituted milk, and dry whole milk. Water, in a sufficient quantity to reconstitute concentrated and dry forms, may be added.

Something doesn’t scan here…

It seems self-evident to me, a non-lawyer (obvs), that this product, just like all of the companies saying they are making “meat” from plants are potentially in violation of federal law.

Milk comes from “the complete milking of one or more healthy cows” according to U.S. law. It does not come from yeast, cow DNA and ‘plant nutrients.’

I get that these companies are trying to “disrupt” food and accept that they may even be environmentally motivated. That said, I don’t see how any of these companies — after even a cursory glance at related law — can expect any of this to scan in the end.



I’d like, for once, to see one of these companies take public accountability for their seemingly blatant illegal marketing campaigns. If they have a good enough product, they can back it up with legitimate advertising. And if your corporate image is based around ethics and accountability, you can’t start by flouting the law.