National Milk says FDA label guidance not enough

The Food and Drug Administration recently issued new guidance for labeling imitation dairy products.  Alan Bjerga with the National Milk Producers Federation tells Brownfield the FDA went part way towards stopping imitations from using dairy terms.  Although it’s not everything the dairy producers wanted, Bjerga says imitation product producers are now guided to disclose the nutritional deficiencies of plant-based products if they want to use a dairy term. “We think this is going to have a profound effect in the marketplace because as companies take a look at this guidance, would you want to put ‘contains 50% less potassium than milk’ on your label?”

Bjerga says the potential is there to help consumers understand the difference between dairy and non-dairy products. “It really is a powerful tool potentially, if the guidance is actually followed, to reduce some of this consumer confusion over nutritional content we’ve seen in the marketplace.”

Bjerga says if the FDA really wanted to eliminate the confusion consumers have about the differences between real and imitation dairy products, the agency would follow their existing rules on standards of identity. 

Bjerga says the Dairy PRIDE legislation recently re-introduced in Congress would force FDA to enforce those rules. Senator Tammy Baldwin, who co-authored the Dairy PRIDE Act, told Brownfield the bill has more support this time and she suspects it will get attached to the new farm bill.

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