The massive omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018 includes report language instructing FDA to enforce labeling standards affecting dairy imitators. NMPF said the omnibus language builds on the DAIRY PRIDE Act (DPA), a bipartisan bill introduced last year in both chambers of Congress to compel FDA to act against misbranded imitations.
“It’s high time that we end the blatant disregard for federal labeling standards by marketers of nutritionally inferior imitation dairy products,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The language in the congressional budget bill will help ensure action on the matter by FDA after years and years of inaction. This measure is clear and unequivocal that honest labeling matters to Congress and consumers, and that FDA can no longer turn a blind eye toward fake foods that deliberately flout federal standards of identity.”
The congressional directive to FDA “will stem the flagrant misuse of the word ‘milk’ on products that are, by FDA’s own definition, not milk nor are made from milk.” Mulhern said. “Real milk is well-known for its strong nutritional contributions, which is why the fake food marketers want so badly to continue using dairy terms on dozens of different plant powder formulations. But these products are pale replicas, not an acceptable substitute for real milk from a nutritional standpoint. This measure will help end the confusion that just co-opting a word somehow makes a food nutritionally equivalent,” he said.
NMPF has worked since early 2017 with members of both the House and Senate on a bipartisan basis to build support on Capitol Hill for the DPA provisions. The language in the omnibus bill gives FDA 180 days from the date of enactment of the measure to issue guidance for how the dairy standards will be implemented and enforced.