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IDFA, NMPF, USDEC Voice Concerns on Two Global Issues

Mar 01, 2017

IDFA recently joined the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council in submitting comments for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report on global international property rights. They highlighted two issues concerning the dairy industry: improper geographical indications that threaten the use of common food names and the World Health Organization’s guidelines for infant and child nutrition that could have a negative impact around the world. 

Geographical Indications

“The U.S. dairy industry is gravely concerned about the abuse by certain countries of intellectual property tools, namely, but not exclusively, geographical indications (GIs), at the intentional expense of American companies, their employees and supplying farmers,” the dairy groups said.

In recent years, the European Union and other countries have been promoting the global adoption of GI policies that are intended to shield European companies from competition by American companies and those in other nations, they said.

IDFA, NMPF and USDEC also added their support to comments submitted by the Consortium for Common Food Names, which outlined GI concerns on a country-by-country basis. The CCFN comments also described newly emerging approaches, such as limits on the generic use of country names or intentionally restrictive product standards.

WHO Guidelines

The dairy organizations’s comments also warned against improper implementation of WHO guidance issued last year that deviated from international standards and the scientific process through which guidance is usually developed. The recommendations in “Guidance on Ending Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children” are contrary to longstanding dietary guidance issued by the WHO, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and national governments that recommends milk, yogurt, cheese, formula milks and other dairy products as part of a healthy, 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,” said IDFA, NMPF and USDEC in the comments.

For more information, contact John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, at

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