The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk, saying the popular sports drink is mislabeled as "milk."

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MILWAUKEE — Government regulators have threatened to crack down on a popular sports drink they say is mislabeled as “milk,” a move welcomed by the dairy industry, which has long objected to the name soy milk and others like it.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took the unusual step of sending a warning letter to the maker of Muscle Milk, a fortified drink that athletes consume after intense workouts.

The FDA says the name “Muscle Milk” is misleading, even though the product’s label says it “contains no milk.”

An allergen statement on the package says “this product contains ingredients derived from milk,” including whey.

But the disclaimer is in smaller type and is less prominently displayed than the words “Muscle Milk.”

The June 29 warning letter gave CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk, 15 days to address numerous mislabeling issues with specific corrective actions. Otherwise, the company could face product seizures or legal action.

CytoSport says on its website that it is “proactively and openly addressing the FDA’s labeling concerns.”

“Concerns like this have been raised before when the dairy lobby complained that other industries or products like soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and rice milk are using the name ‘milk’ in connection with a product other than fluid dairy milk, all of which appeal to lactose intolerant consumers just as Muscle Milk does,” Cyto-

Sport wrote.

The FDA would not answer questions about its Muscle Milk investigation, but a warning letter is considered a serious matter.

“We are gratified that the FDA has finally gotten off its duff and done something with respect to at least one product,” Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation, said about the warning given to CytoSport.