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Action Requested on Proper Milk Labeling

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) sent a letter to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), expressing the need for proper labeling of imitation dairy products. Due to the lack of promised action, the NMPF urged the FDA to ensure that rules are being enforced properly.

“Allowing unlawfully labeled ‘plant-based’ imitation dairy foods to proliferate poses an immediate and growing risk to public health; it is a clear dereliction of the FDA’s duty to enforce federal law and agency regulations,” wrote NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern in the letter, sent to Dr. Laurie Lenkel, FDA’s ombudsman. “The FDA’s Office of the Ombudsman must intervene to break the bureaucratic logjam that is adversely affecting consumers. Doing so would fit squarely within the Office’s own mission to ensure even-handed application of FDA policy and procedures.”

NMPF also states that the FDA has failed to hold plant-based dairy alternatives accountable for proper food labeling compliance, which has resulted in “obvious adverse implications for the nutritional health of consumers and public health while falling short 3 of the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).”

The impact on public health is an important theme of the letter, even providing evidence from The American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations, stating the nutritional deficiencies that are a result of consumer confusion about plant-based dairy alternatives. NMPF stated in a press release that these public helath challenges are “brought about by the agency’s regrettable inaction.” The goal of the letter is for the FDA ombudsman to take appropriate actions to remedy the FDA’s current lackadaisical approach to proper enforcement.