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Cooperative applauds effort to stop misleading dairy labels

Legislation that would crack down on imitation dairy product labeling has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate. 

Brody Stapel is the President of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, and he tells Brownfield their research shows the need for properly labeling dairy and imitation products so consumers know what they’re getting. “If a plant-based product says it’s cheese or says it’s milk, they certainly think it contains dairy products, and it’s unfortunate because milk and dairy have been around for a long, long time and have always had a nutritions association with it.”

But Stapel says most consumers are fooled by the labels. “One-third of customers in a survey that we did believe that the products contain protein or that they’re higher quality than dairy, but the truth is that the imitations really don’t have the same nutrition level as real dairy.”

The Dairy PRIDE Act was re-introduced Tuesday by Republicans Jim Risch of Idaho and Susan Collins of Maine along with Democrats Peter Welch of Vermont and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. 

If passed, the law would prohibit using dairy terms including milk, yogurt, and cheese on imitation products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae.  Stapel says the Food and Drug Administration already has rules on the books but has failed to enforce them.

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