State Activity to Limit Labeling Claims regarding rbST Continues
The recent groundswell of state activity surrounding the issue of rbST and labeling claims continues, as legislators in Kansas, Vermont and now Missouri are considering bills that would severely restrict the types of labels processors can use. In addition, the governors of Ohio and Utah have proposed new labeling regulations. IDFA opposes these efforts and last week urged the governors of Ohio and Utah and members of the Kansas Senate to protect the consumer's right to make purchasing decisions based on truthful and not-misleading product labels.
Processors, and until recently most states, have followed the uniform labeling guidance regarding rbST that was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994. The new regulations proposed by these states and a growing number of others would deny consumers the right to receive - and dairy processors the right to provide - information about whether the products contain milk from cows not treated with rbST. And because the details of the proposals vary from state to state, they could result in a patchwork of regulations that would place a heavy burden on interstate suppliers.
"Most dairy processors market across state lines," said IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton in her letter to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. "Requiring those companies to change labels for dairy products on a state-by-state basis will unnecessarily add costs to dairy products."
Tipton made a similar appeal to Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, adding that the state's proposal could lead to less milk being consumed, fewer dairy farmers and a decline in economic activity in the state. In both letters, Tipton urges the governors to reject new regulations in favor of the existing FDA guidance on rbST absence claims.
To read the letters to the governors, click here. To read the Kansas testimony, click here.
IDFA has several additional initiatives underway to oppose attempts to restrict the use of absence claims on product labels. Most immediately, IDFA Senior Group Vice President Clay Hough plans to present IDFA's position at a public hearing tomorrow in Salt Lake City, Utah.
IDFA urges members to become involved in opposing these efforts and has prepared an issue backgrounder for reference. For more information, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-220-3512.