Several U.S. senators introduced legislation last week that would require country-of-origin labeling for all dairy products. Imported products, such as cheese, are already required to indicate the country of production, but labeling for individual ingredients is not currently required. IDFA opposes legislative attempts to mandate these new labeling requirements, calling them unnecessary and restrictive.
The senators, led by Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), argue that the country-of-origin labeling, or COOL, legislation would aide farmers and help consumers to identify and purchase dairy products manufactured in the United States, rather than in foreign countries.
"We now export more dairy than we import so I worry about legislation like this that could invite retaliation from our trading partners and limit a growing part of our industry," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. "States like New York can and do have programs to promote dairy products from local producers."
Slominski affirmed IDFA's continued opposition to COOL legislation, noting that, "Imposing additional labeling mandates on dairy products, which are not imposed on other processed foods, will reduce demand for dairy products and encourage food manufacturers to substitute vegetable-based or other protein ingredients instead of dairy ingredients."
Prior attempts to pass COOL legislation aimed at dairy products failed to become law.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3553.