Now that many state legislatures have started their 2013 legislative sessions, two important issues for dairy manufacturers continue to be the most prevalent: the legalization or expansion of raw milk sales to consumers and mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GMO) foods.
The sale of raw milk and raw milk products to consumers is once again a contentious issue. Several states are introducing legislation that would make the sale of raw milk products legal at the farm level, at farmers' markets, for home delivery and at retail. So far, bills supporting or expanding the sale of raw milk have been introduced in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming.
After a failed attempt two years ago, Wisconsin likely will reconsider legalizing raw milk in this session, too, but legislation has not yet been introduced. New Mexico is the lone state to introduce legislation, S.B. 286, that would reverse its current standing and prohibit the sale of raw milk to consumers in the state.
Several states also have introduced legislation concerning the labeling of genetically modified food products. These proposals would require milk and dairy products that are or contain genetically modified products to state on the label that they are or contain GMO products. Some of these bills include language for milk from cows that have been treated with rbST or that have been fed genetically modified feed. Bills requiring GMO labeling are currently under consideration in Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia.
Other issues on the states' dockets include milk pricing, nutrition, taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and deposit systems for beverage containers. IDFA will continue to monitor and report on legislative activity in all 50 states.
Members may login here to view IDFA's comprehensive charts of pending legislation related to dairy.
If you have any questions regarding state legislative issues, contact Kyle Shreve, IDFA legislative coordinator, at email@example.com or (202) 220-3533.