Bill aims to keep non-dairy products from being labeled ‘milk’


FILE – In this Feb. 11, 2009, file photo, a shopper looks over the milk aisle at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, Vt. U.S. Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and other members of Congress are pushing in December 2016 for the Food and Drug Administration to enforce a definition of milk that would not include non-dairy products like soy or almonds. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

WASHINGTON (ABC4) – Should non-dairy products be labeled as ‘milk’? Four lawmakers don’t think so.

Bipartisan legislation has been re-introduced that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take enforcement action against manufacturers that label non-dairy products as dairy.

The DAIRY PRIDE Act would stop the use of dairy terms like milk, yogurt, and cheese on labels of products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae.

Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) are behind the legislation.

“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,” says 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.”

The lawmakers say FDA regulations define dairy products as being from dairy animals, “yet the agency has failed to enforce its own regulations.”

The act claims these “misleading labels” are harming dairy farmers who ensure their products meet FDA standards.

In the House, the bill has over 30 cosponsors.

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