Minister of state for home and information technology Satej Patil, who also heads the Gokul milk cooperative, Thursday criticised animal rights’ NGO PETA for suggesting that the dairy manufacture “plant-based milk products”.
He tweeted, “Milk not just provides a healthy diet option to the common man but also provides livelihood to millions of farmers. Any NGO can’t come and dictate terms to us about our food preferences!” Patil helms the Kolhapur Zilla Sahakari Dudh Utpadak Sangh, whose brand Gokul is a leading milk cooperative in Maharashtra.
Dr Kiran Ahuja, vegan outreach coordinator, PETA India told TOI, “Consumers dictate market trends and increasingly they are opting for plant milk because they do not want to support an industry from where the beef and leather industries get cattle to kill. (They want) better health and (want to) help fight climate change. Meat and dairy businesses around the world are opting to embrace changing consumer choice by investing in or creating vegan foods and milk, and Satej Patil’s Gokul Dairy could opt to do the same.”
She added, “One of India’s dairies also makes coconut yoghurt and almond milk. Plant milks and vegan foods are made from plants found in abundance in India, they are grown on farms, and so it is common sense that vegan foods are an excellent new opportunity for Indian farmers. Farmers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala already earn over 19 million USD a year as jackfruit is now turned into burgers and other replacements for meat in India and around the world.”
Meanwhile, advertising regulator Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) dismissed a plea filed by PETA against Amul for stating that plant-based products cannot be called milk. Food regulator FSSAI states that non-dairy products like soya and almond extract cannot use the word ‘milk’ in their nomenclature.PETA had recently written to India’s largest dairy Amul, asking it to switch to plant-based vegan products. Amul hit back urging PM Narendra Modi to ban the NGO. It said that millions of dairy farmers subsisted on milk production, adding that “foreign funded NGOs are running campaigns to tarnish the Indian dairy industry”.
Source : Times of India June 4,2021, written by Bella Jaisinghani & Vijay Singh / TNN /