Rounds, Baldwin and Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Misleading Labeling of Non-Dairy Products
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced the Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday (DAIRY PRIDE) Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation would combat the unfair practice of misleading labeling of non-dairy products using dairy names.
“Dairy farmers work tirelessly to provide high-quality nutrition rich products, and they should not have to compete with misleading labels on products that do not even contain dairy,” said Rounds. “Further, consumers deserve to know exactly what product they are buying at the grocery store. The FDA’s recently announced draft guidance is both deceptive and harmful. I am pleased to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect producers and consumers.”
“Wisconsin’s dairy farmers produce second-to-none products with the highest nutritional value and imitation products have gotten away with using dairy’s good name without meeting those standards,” said Baldwin. “The Biden Administration’s guidance that allows non-dairy products to use dairy names is just wrong, and I’m proud to take a stand for Wisconsin farmers and the quality products they make. Our bipartisan DAIRY PRIDE Act will protect our dairy farmers and ensure consumers know the nutritional value of what they are purchasing.”
Current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations define dairy products as being from dairy animals. However, last week the FDA released ill-advised draft guidance allowing plant-based products to continue to use dairy terms despite not containing any dairy or having comparable nutritional value to dairy products.
The FDA’s anti-dairy draft guidance contradicts their own regulation and definitions, allowing non-dairy products to use dairy names, violating the Administrative Procedure Act, and hurting dairy farmers and producers, who work tirelessly to make certain their dairy products meet FDA standards and provide the public with nutritious food. It has also led to the proliferation of mislabeled alternative products that contain a range of ingredients and nutrients that are often not equivalent to the nutritional content of dairy products.
The DAIRY PRIDE Act would require the FDA to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of mislabeled imitation dairy products within 90 days and require the FDA to report to Congress two years after enactment to hold the agency accountable for this update in their enforcement obligations. This legislation would also nullify any guidance that is not consistent with dairy standards of identity, including the one released last week.
This legislation is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the South Dakota Dairy Board.
“Dairy farmers work hard to earn the trust of America’s families by producing healthy affordable products,” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “The DAIRY PRIDE Act is a positive step toward ensuring labels at the supermarket accurately represent the items consumers decide to put on their tables. Families deserve to be fully informed on the products they purchase.”
“South Dakota Dairy Producers applaud Senator Rounds for his efforts to reintroduce the Dairy Pride Act and his persistent efforts with the FDA to enforce standards of identity for dairy products,” said South Dakota Dairy Board Chair Marv Post. “For years, SDDP has voiced concern over the use of dairy terms on non-dairy products and we are optimistic this is a step in the right direction, and we thank Senator Rounds for carrying this forward.”
This legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Angus King (I-Maine), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
Click HERE for full bill text.