Ohio Agriculture Department Revises Product Labeling Rule
The Ohio Department of Agriculture last week revised and refiled its emergency dairy labeling rule restricting the use of absence claims on products. The department modified the original rule after listening to significant opposition from IDFA, processors and consumers at a public hearing held March 12. While the changes to the labeling rule are favorable, IDFA believes the revisions do not fully address the concerns raised by dairy processors and consumers.
For absence claims, the new rule still requires a contiguous disclaimer, stating that milk from cows injected with artificial hormones is the same as milk from untreated cows, but it allows the disclaimer to be one-half the size of the production claim. The rule also provides 120 days for processors to comply with the new labeling requirements.
"These changes are a step in the right direction, but they still inhibit dairy processors from conveying information about the use of artificial hormones that consumers want to know," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president. "Ohio's proposed rule continues to be more restrictive than established federal guidelines. This will ultimately disrupt interstate commerce and impede processors from marketing products in-state and nationally."
The agriculture department has scheduled a hearing on the revised rule for April 8, and the Ohio Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) will review the rule during a hearing on April 21. IDFA continues to oppose the rule and will provide comments for both hearings. IDFA also plans to reach out to committee members to inform them of the processing industry's continued concerns with the proposed rule.
IDFA continues to oppose similar proposals in other states, such as Missouri and Kansas, as well. For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA senior director of policy and legislative analysis, at email@example.com or 202-220-3553.
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Posted March 31, 2008