HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to “clarify the definition of milk” in state law.

In a memo issued to state lawmakers, State Senator Elder Vogel Jr. (R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence) says he wants to define milk “as only coming from a dairy cow.”

Vogel Jr. cited recent guidance from the Food and Drug Administration that says plant-based beverages don’t pretend to be from dairy animals – and that U.S. consumers aren’t confused by the difference.

Dairy producers for years have called for the FDA to crack down on plant-based drinks and other products that they say masquerade as animal-based foods and cloud the real meaning of “milk.”

Under the draft rules, the agency recommends that beverage makers label their products clearly by the plant source of the food, such as “soy milk” or “cashew milk.”

Vogel Jr. says the FDA’s guidance is “contradicting their own definition” and that it is “an attack on the dairy industry and misleading to consumers.”

“There is a clear disadvantage when non-dairy milk substitutes are allowed in the dairy case and compete with actual milk by claiming to be a healthier alternative,” said Vogel Jr. “While I understand the need for these milk substitutes, they are simply not milk and should not be labeled as such.”

According to the PA Dairymen’s Association, Pennsylvania’s dairy industry supports the state economy with “to the tune of $14.7 billion and over 52,000 jobs” with 6,500 dairy farms.

In recent years, the number of plant-based drinks has exploded to include dozens of varieties, including cashew, coconut, hemp and quinoa-based beverages. Although the drinks are made from the liquid extracts of plant materials, they are frequently labeled – and described – as “milks.”

In the U.S., almond milk is the most popular variety, but oat milk has been seeing the fastest growth. Still, nondairy sales are dwarfed by traditional milk. Sales of refrigerated cow’s milk grew to $12.3 billion in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 28, compared to $2.5 billion for nondairy milk, according to NielsenIQ.

The FDA will accept comments on the draft guidelines through April 23.

The Associated Press contributed to this report