Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce
Under the new presidential administration, the White House has spent significant energy looking for ways to help businesses and alleviate regulatory burdens that stifle job creation. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross recently was directed by the White House to consult with manufacturers on how the administration can reduce the regulatory burden.
In response, IDFA last Friday submitted comments to the Department of Commerce on a variety of regulations that are unduly burdensome to the dairy industry and asked the administration to address them.
Food and Nutrition Regulations
In the comments, IDFA acknowledged the valuable role that regulation of food labeling and safety plays in protecting consumers but said some regulations do not enhance food safety and can even be harmful. As an example, IDFA noted that voluntary sodium reduction targets for cheese are unrealistic because salt plays an essential role in the ripening, quality and safety of natural and processed cheeses. IDFA also called for compliance dates for the new food labeling requirements, like the Nutrition Facts panel and biotechnology disclosure, to be harmonized and extended to May 2021 to reduce consumer confusion and avoid unnecessary spending by companies.
IDFA also highlighted the need to modernize several standards of identity for dairy products, revise and complete final guidance for regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act and expand milk options available through U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition assistance programs to align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Environmental and Workplace Safety Regulations
Regarding environmental and workplace safety regulations, IDFA said dairy foods manufacturers understand the importance of protecting employees and the environment, but some existing regulations provide no added benefit. IDFA listed changes to the Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations that require third-party audits, public disclosures of sensitive facility information and redundant oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as extremely burdensome and costly with no added benefit to environmental or worker safety.
IDFA also called for EPA to establish default tolerance levels for pesticides and to ensure that EPA and OSHA inspectors are properly trained, which will reduce the burden associated with improper application of standards and regulations.
IDFA’s full comments can be found here.
For more information, contact Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and general counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Emily Lyons, IDFA director of regulatory affairs and counsel, at email@example.com.