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Article

Congress Calls on Federal Agencies to Stop Adoption of WHO Guidance

Apr 12, 2017

More than a dozen members of Congress last week called upon federal officials to dissuade America’s trade partners from implementing World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to restrict the marketing of milk and other dairy products for consumption by infants and young children. The guidance ignores a wealth of national and international scientific evidence, said the legislators, noting that WHO is inappropriately pressuring countries to adopt it.

In a letter to Tom Price, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the legislators focused on the nutritional importance of milk and dairy products for young children. They also sent copies to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

They called on the agencies to help stop the adoption of WHO’s “Guidance on Ending Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children” through interactions with global trading partners. They also asked agencies to coordinate when the United States develops its position on the guidance.

The letter was signed by Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY), Danny Davis (D-IL), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Elise Stefanik (D-NY), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Krtisti Noem (R-SD), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Ron Kind (D-WI), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Tom Cole (R-OK) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).

IDFA Leads Efforts to Combat Guidance

John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, helped lead industry efforts last year to build awareness of the guidance’s shortcomings and requested changes before the guidance was adopted. Allan has urged HHS to reject the guidance and he served as a member of a coalition that briefed HHS officials and other federal agencies, as well as members of Congress, on the harmful nutrition and trade implications of the guidelines.

IDFA believes the recommendations in the guidance are contrary to longstanding dietary advice issued by WHO and other national governments that recommend dairy products as part of a balanced diet for young children.

“We urge the U.S. government to ensure that countries are not undermining child nutrition by imposing restrictions on milk and other nutritious dairy products and are abiding by their international commitments on trade and intellectual property,” IDFA said earlier this year in joint comments with NMPF and USDEC to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Read the letter here.

For more information, contact Allan at jallan@idfa.org.