DAIRY PRIDE Act of 2023 is introduced
By: Sydney Sheffield
As a response to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) proposed guidance regarding labeling of non-dairy products, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act (DAIRY PRIDE Act) of 2023. The DAIRY PRIDE Act would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae to no longer be mislabeled with terms such as milk, yogurt, or cheese.
For more information regarding the FDA’s proposed guidelines, check out the Taking Stock D.C. article FDA releases guidance for plant-based milk-alternative beverage labeling.
“When consumers look at the decision between the many dairy-labeled products available at their local grocery stores, they may assume all options are nutritionally equivalent,” said Senator King. “Labeling plant-based alternatives as ‘milk’, ‘yogurt’, or ‘cheese’ is misleading to consumers and makes informed dietary choices more difficult. Consumers deserve to clearly see the truth about the food they buy while Maine dairy farmers deserve a fair shot in a crowded marketplace. I’m backing the DAIRY PRIDE Act to fight against the mislabeling of products that do not meet the FDA’s definition of a dairy and protect the integrity of Maine-made dairy products.”
The current regulations define dairy products as being from dairy animals, however, the FDA released draft guidance allowing plant-based products to continue to use dairy terms. The DAIRY PRIDE Act would require the FDA to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of mislabeled imitation dairy products within 90 days. The bill would also require the FDA to report to Congress two years after enactment to hold the agency accountable for this update in their enforcement obligations. In addition, it would nullify any guidance that is not consistent with dairy standards of identity.
This bill is important to those in the dairy industry. David Trimner, a general manager for Miltrim Farms in Athens, Wisconsin said, “It’s important for us that we are well represented in what our products actually are and how they’re made. So, by diversifying or separating out what is truly milk, I think also goes back to the farmers and all the work that we put in to making our product. A lot of these imitation products that try to play off as milk such as soy milk and oat milk, that’s definitely not the definition of what milk is.”
In a Journal of Nutrition study, researchers found that substituting dairy for non-dairy alternatives led to reductions in vitamin B-12, riboflavin, calcium, and iodine. Even when the non-dairy alternative was fortified with calcium, there was still a higher risk of iodine deficiency.
In addition to Senators Collins and King, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID), Peter Welch (D-VT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Tina Smith (D-MN).
Read the DAIRY PRIDE Act here.