Comment Now on Dairy Imitation Labeling

Podcast / Newsline August 23, 2018

Federal regulators are asking the public for strategies to change how non-dairy imitation products are labeled. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: The Food and Drug Administration regulates how foods may be labeled, including dairy and non-dairy imitation products. But FDA has not been fully enforcing existing regulations, which are supposed to ban makers of plant-based products from using dairy terms. So the agency wants comments on how it should enforce the rules, American Farm Bureau Federation economist Michael Nepveux says.

Nepveux: These comments are offering us the opportunity to potentially and finally convince FDA that the status quo of enforcement discretion is not acceptable and that the current standards of identity must be vigorously enforced.

Clements: Nepveux says the failure of the FDA to enforce current regulations clearly has implications for consumers and the dairy sector.

Nepveux: Americans are very familiar with milk as a healthy source of protein and nutrients and a big reason for this awareness comes from education and marketing efforts by the American dairy industry. These other products are taking advantage of that consumer trust to market their non-dairy products as milk and trade on the dairy industry’s good name.

Clements: He says action by the FDA is overdue.

Nepveux: American dairy farmers have been dealing with this issue for a long time. At least two decades since FDA was first contacted about enforcing the standards. Farm Bureau respectfully calls on FDA to vigorously enforce food standards regarding the labeling of dairy products.

Clements: The comment period closes October 11. Micheal Clements, Washington.

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