At a House Agriculture Committee hearing yesterday in the nation’s capital, Michael Dykes, the CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) weighed in on the Dairy Pride Act, legislation that would prohibit the use of words like “milk” or “cheese” on dairy-free products.
IDFA represents 85% of the US dairy industry and threw its support behind this bill when it was introduced earlier this year, so you might be surprised to learn that support for the Dairy PRIDE act has now soured in favor of a new resolution:
Dykes stated that this matter of labeling “is probably an issue that needs to be resolved in the marketplace,” adding that though this has been a question for quite some time, “the FDA has not concluded these [labels] are misleading and there have been court challenges and the courts have not concluded that they have been misleading.”
Representative Doug LaMalfa, who was posing questions to the dairy CEO, took it even further, saying he’s “mystified at the direction the Dairy Pride Act is going.” He added that “it seems pretty clear” for consumers whether “you’re buying in the dairy case as a milk product from a cow or something like almond milk or one of the other alternatives.”
In 2010, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) petitioned the FDA to stop the use of words like “milk,” “cheese,” “yogurt,” or “ice cream,” on dairy-free product labels. With no response, in 2016 the NMPF whipped up a group of Congressmembers to send a letter urging this label mandating.
The Dairy Pride Act is just the latest desperate move by an industry that is seeing its sales plummet. If the industry wants to move forward with IDFA’s new position that this labeling issue needs to be “resolved in the marketplace,” then let’s encourage them to do just that: