State News

Welch and Simpson introduce bipartisan, bicameral bill to stop the labeling of non-dairy products as ‘milk’ 

U.S. congressmen Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) re-introduced bipartisan legislation that requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take enforcement action against manufacturers labeling non-dairy products as dairy on April 22.

The Dairy Pride Act would stop the use of dairy terms such as milk, yogurt and cheese on the labels of non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae. The legislation does not prevent the sale of non-dairy products, only their mislabeling as dairy products.

“Dairy farmers, already struggling to survive, are facing a growing threat due to the misleading practice of marketing plant-based products as milk and dairy products,” said Welch. “These products do not meet the FDA’s definition of a dairy product because they do not have the unique attributes and nutritional values provided by dairy. Our bill would require the FDA to enforce its existing definition of milk and dairy products so that consumers can make more informed choices.”

“For decades dairy farmers have called on FDA to simply enforce the law and follow its own standards designed to protect product integrity, marketplace transparency and the ability of consumers to make informed choices about what they feed themselves and their families,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “The medical community is increasingly concerned about mislabeled dairy imitators that harm public health, while consumers demand honesty in labeling.”

The Dairy Pride Act would require the FDA to issue guidance on its enforcement of its regulations on mislabeled dairy products within 90 days and require the agency to report to Congress on its implementation of the law two years after its enactment. The bill has 33 cosponsors in the House.

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