FarmFirst continued our resilient advocacy in the best interests of U.S. dairy farmers, by recently by making your case on the issue of dairy labeling. In late June, we submitted detailed comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to the FDA’s draft guidance document titled “Labeling of Plant-Based Milk Alternatives and Voluntary Nutrient Statements: Guidance for Industry.” The guidance document was issued on February 22, 2023, in the Federal Register with a July 31, 2023 deadline for comments.
In our submission, we made it clear that the FDA must enforce existing dairy labeling regulations and prioritize the clear differentiation between real dairy products and imitations or substitutes. While we expressed appreciation of FDA’s efforts in the draft guidance document, we firmly believe that it is time to enforce the established
regulations and standards of identity for milk and dairy products. Consumers deserve clear and accurate information when making purchasing decisions. Enforcing dairy labeling requirements is essential to protect the interests of our dairy farmers and to maintain trust between producers and consumers.
We pointed out that terms such as “milk,” “cheese,” and “yogurt” have specific standards of identity and must be protected. Plant and nut-based products such as almond, soy, or rice extract misrepresent dairy products and are examples of mislabeled products which mislead consumers into thinking they are consuming dairy products or that plant and nut-based products have the same nutritional quality as milk and dairy products. In addition, we stressed that the word “imitation” should be required in the advertising and labeling of imitation milk, cheese, and other substitutes for dairy products. It is imperative that all food labels are required to be easily understood, and any claims should be supported by science in keeping with FDA’s standards of identity.
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