For the last several days, Islamist propaganda organisation PETA has been targeting Indian dairy giant Amul, asking them to switch to plant-based products from milk. Responding to their appeal, today GCMMF managing director R S Sodhi asked who will provide employment to 10 crore people who depend on the cooperative dairy sector, if the company stops using milk. It may be noted that the Amul brand is owned by Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd.
On May 26, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India had said that Amul can start making ‘plant-milk’ to produce its products. The NGO had claimed that Indian farmers will greatly benefit from vegan foods.
Today, it was reported that the PETA has written a letter to Amul MD R S Sodhi, asking them to switched to ‘vegan milk’. “We would again like to encourage Amul to benefit from the booming vegan food and milk market, instead of wasting resources trying to fight the demand for plant-based products that is only growing. Other companies are responding to market changes, and Amul can too,” the organisation said. They claimed that ‘the dairy cooperative society should benefit from the booming vegan food and milk market’.
Responding to such media reports on the letter by PETA to Amul, R S Sodhi questioned if the NGO will give livelihood to 100 million dairy farmers, 70% of whom are landless. “Who will pay for children school fee, how many can afford expensive lab manufactured factory food made out of chemicals, and synthetic vitamins”, he asked.
He also said that “Peta wants Amul to snatch livelihood of 100 mill poor farmers and handover it’s all resources built in 75 years with farmers money to market genetically modified Soya of rich MNC at exorbitant prices, which average lower middle class can’t afford”.
PETA lost case against Amul
It may be noted that earlier this week, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had dismissed a plea filed by PETA and two other organisations against Amul for saying that plant-based products can’t be called ‘milk’. Amul is running a ‘Myths vs Facts’ advertisement, where the company had said that “plant-based beverages are impersonating and masquerading as dairy products”.
ASCI had found that Amul’s ad was correct, as according to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) rules, plant-based milk is not covered under the definition of ‘milk’. As per FSSAI guidelines, milk is considered as a vegetarian product. Plant-based beverages also have proteins and beneficial minerals, however, most plant-based milks have lower protein content than milk, ASCI had observed.
PETA, Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) and Sharan India had also complained against Amul’s contention that milk is a complete food, claiming that it is not a complete food, is harmful to health and is less nutritious than plant-based food. But ASCI had ruled that milk can be called complete food as it contains all essential nutritive ingredients required for sustenance.
GCMMF had said that the ad was issued in public interest as several articles and videos were published against milk and defaming Amul recently. Those content had misleading claims such as “dairy industry inflicts cruelty on animals”, “milk causes cancer and various other ailments”, “plant based beverages are healthier than milk”, “plant based beverages can be legally termed as milk” etc.
Referring to the plant-based beverage makers naming their products as ‘milk’, R S Sodhi had said such companies are encashing the equity of milk to sell their non-milk products. He had said that these products are nothing but genetically modified lab foods made out of chemicals and synthetic materials by big companies and MNCs. “Indian dairy industry is a model of co-existence of humans and animals for centuries. But foreign-funded NGOs are running campaigns to tarnish the Indian dairy industry which unlike western world is not a factory farm industry. Cattle are part of a dairy farmer’s family, nobody tortures them”, he had said.
FSSAI proposes to ban use of ‘milk’ for plant based products
While PETA wants Amul to use ‘vegan milk’, the draft regulation of FSSAI for dairy products published last year says that non-dairy products like soya and almond ‘milk’ and non-dairy cheese and ice-cream won’t be allowed to use the word ‘milk’.
The National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India (NCDFI) has also filed a plea with Delhi High Court requesting to prevent the manufacturers of beverages or products derived from soya, almonds etc from using the term ‘milk’ and milk products such as paneer, curd, yogurt etc.