IDFA commends the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for its decision last Thursday to rescind a ruling that would have prevented dairy processors from making truthful product claims on their fluid milk labels. This action supersedes the ruling issued by the department last October, which would have banned the use of all rbST "absence claims" on fluid milk products.
"We applaud Governor Ed Rendell, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for recognizing that dairy processors have every right to make claims on their product labels that are truthful and not misleading," said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and general counsel.
Since the initial ruling was proposed last October, IDFA and other interested dairy groups have engaged in intensive negotiations with the department to protect the rights of processors to make these claims. IDFA was concerned that this ruling, if allowed to stand, would motivate other states to move away from the using the 1994 guidance set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The new decision expressly allows production-based rbST absence claims supported by producer affidavits that are consistent with the FDA guidance, which is the framework followed by most states. In addition, the decision does not require the exact words for all claims, allowing some marketing flexibility for members.
"We're pleased that IDFA was able to accomplish two primary goals: We protected our member's constitutional rights while working towards national and uniform label requirements," said Hough.
Although the new policy only applies to fluid milk, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture intends to review its labeling policy for ice cream and cheese products as well.
To read Pennsylvania's revised milk labeling standards, click here. To read the decision that was rescinded, click here.
Members with questions may contact Hough at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3515.