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Friday, January 13, 2017

Sen. Baldwin offers bill in Senate to stop mislabeling of dairy products

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin stood up for Wisconsin dairy farmers and introduced legislation today to combat the unfair practice of mislabeling non-dairy products. The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act (DAIRY PRIDE Act) would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae to no longer be mislabeled with dairy terms such as milk, yogurt or cheese.

“Dairy farmers in Wisconsin work tirelessly every day to ensure that their milk meets high standards for nutritional value and quality,” said Senator Baldwin. “Imitation products have gotten away with using dairy’s good name for their own benefit, which is against the law and must be enforced. Mislabeling of plant-based products as ‘milk’ hurts our dairy farmers. That’s why I’ve authored the DAIRY PRIDE Act to take a stand for Wisconsin farmers and the quality products they make.”


“Finally after all these years, it’s about time someone stands up for the American Dairy farmer. We are held to higher quality and animal care standard every year to keep milk safe. It’s not fair that the name milk should be used by non-dairy drinks to further erode what little profit we have,” said Jerry Croes, member of the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Deer Park, WI.

Dairy producer coalitions and groups around the country are also applauding the legislation:

“For too long, the FDA has turned a blind eye to the misbranding of imitation dairy products, despite the decades-old federal law that milk comes from animals, not vegetables or nuts. None of these imitators provides the same high quality and quantity of nutrition offered by real milk. Senator Baldwin’s DAIRY PRIDE Act will simply ensure that FDA enforces current law by requiring marketers of these imitation products to call them something other than milk,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.

The DAIRY PRIDE Act is also supported by Bongards Creameries, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, First District Association, Dairy Business Association, Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, Mid-west Dairymen's Company and Scenic Central Milk Producers.

Current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations define dairy products as being from dairy animals. Although existing federal regulation are clear, the FDA has not enforced these labeling regulations and the mislabeling of products as ‘milk’, ‘yogurt’ and ‘cheese’ has increased rapidly. This hurts dairy farmers that work tirelessly to ensure their Made in Wisconsin dairy products meet FDA standards and provide the public with nutritious food.  It has also led to the proliferation of mislabeled alternative products that contain a range of ingredients and nutrients that are often not equivalent to the nutrition content of dairy products.

The DAIRY PRIDE Act would require the FDA to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of mislabeled imitation dairy products within 90 days and require the FDA to report to Congress two years after enactment to hold the agency accountable for this update in their enforcement obligations.

Quotes from supporting organizations is available here.

An online version of this release is available here



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