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Members: Tell Congress to Protect Common U.S. Dairy Product Names

Apr 23, 2014

The Congressional Dairy Caucus is taking action to protect the use of common generic names for dairy products, and IDFA members can help.

Geographical indications (GIs) provide a certain group of producers in a specific region the right to use a particular product name, and they are a key issue in the negotiations for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The European Union aims to impose expansive GI rules on U.S. agricultural products that would ban the use of terms like parmesan, muenster, feta and many others, which could affect thousands of dairy farmer and dairy food companies across the country.

Dairy Caucus members plan to send a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Ambassador Michael Froman to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to protect the use of these generic names for U.S. dairy products. The letter also will ask for the removal of a range of other trade barriers to U.S. products that currently tilt dairy trade numbers dramatically in the EU's favor.  

IDFA asks its members to contact your Representative today using this contact information and urge him or her to join the members of the Congressional Dairy Caucus on the letter. 

“In their last week of recess, it is critical House members hear from dairy processors while they are back in their districts,” said Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs. “We see the EU’s GI strategy as completely incompatible with the fundamental goal of a trade negotiation, which is to remove trade barriers—not add them—and  allow for greater competition.”

House representatives who want to sign the Dairy Caucus letter may contact Paul Bleiberg at or Jake Oster at

For questions regarding the Dairy Caucus letter, contact Hughes at or (202) 220-3527 or Chelsee Woodey, IDFA director of legislative affairs, at or (202) 220-3522.

IDFA's grassroots program, the Grassroots Action Network for Dairy (GRAND), is an effective way for IDFA member companies to learn about priority dairy issues, advocate on those issues to Congress and cultivate strong relationships with legislators. The core elements of GRAND include educating dairy company employees on the issues affecting the industry and ultimately their jobs, communicating on the issues to elected officials in Congress and building relationships with lawmakers.

For questions regarding the GRAND program, how to identify lawmakers representing your facilities or for assistance reaching out to legislators, contact Ashley Burch, IDFA assistant director of political programs at or (202) 220-3534.

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