The National Milk Producers Federation commended Congress for including language in the report accompanying the final 2020 government funding measure to urge the Food and Drug Administration to finally enforce dairy-product standards of identity.
Both the House and Senate versions of the Agriculture-FDA bill report included language reaffirming bipartisan congressional concern with mislabeled imitation dairy products and directing FDA to enforce its own rules on labeling. The House and Senate passed the final compromise funding bill this week.
“We hope that the bipartisan, bicameral reminder from Congress, coupled with Dr. Stephen Hahn’s confirmation as FDA Commissioner earlier this month, will give FDA momentum to finally enforce standards of identity for dairy products,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Plant-based mislabeling intentionally misleads consumers into purchasing nutritionally inferior products that bear dairy’s good name. It’s long past time for FDA to right this wrong, and we hope this message from Congress helps make it happen.”
The report reaffirms Congress’s concern “about the proliferation of products …. that include the names of dairy products that do not contain milk or ingredients derived from milk,” as stated in Senate language. To address the problem, the Senate asks FDA to report on “steps taken to enforce against dairy imitation products marketed using dairy names,” while House language “urges the FDA to continue its work toward ultimately enforcing standards of identity for dairy products.”
The final measure also provides funding for several critical programs that were authorized last year in the 2018 Farm Bill. These include the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to help distressed farmers during challenging times; the Dairy Business Innovation program to help the dairy industry explore opportunities for innovation and modernization; and the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Program designed to increase consumption of fluid milk.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.