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  • 2014 Kicks Off with 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting

    January 07, 2014
    Happy New Year! This will be quite a year for nutrition issues: more work on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrition labeling for restaurant menus, updates to the Nutrition Facts panel and implementation of nutrition standards for competitive foods in schools. January starts off with the second meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee next Monday and Tuesday, January 13 and 14. This is the meeting that was cancelled in October due to the government shutdown. I will be presenting oral comments on behalf of IDFA on Tuesday morning. The meeting will also include presentations by experts and reports from the five subcommittees. These subcommittee reports will help identify the topic areas that have been identified as high priorities for investigation by the committee. If you are interested in observing the meeting, you can still register to attend either in-person or via webinar at The meeting agenda and additional information about the Dietary Guidelines can also be found at that website. Read More

  • Listen Up! IDFA’s Labeling Webinars Next Week

    December 05, 2013
    Next week I will be presenting at IDFA’s Labeling Webinar series. Cary Frye, IDFA VP for scientific and regulatory affairs, and I will be discussing labeling basics, as well as labeling claims that can be made on dairy products. We’ll also be covering labeling hot topics, such as hormone labeling, the new gluten-free claims and organic labeling. We’re very happy that Maile Hermida, an associate from Hogan Lovells US LLP, will also be presenting on lawsuits related to natural labeling and other labeling issues. The webinar will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. You can still register and learn more about labeling from the comfort of your own office. Visit the webinar microsite for more details and to register. I hope to “see” you on the webinar next week! Read More

  • For the Love of Food!

    November 04, 2013
    I was one of more than 8,000 attendees at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s (AND’s) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) held last week in Houston, Texas. The sessions always include a variety of topics, some of them very specific to a particular area of dietetics and some that are of wide interest to professionals involved in food and nutrition. While I heard a number of good sessions, I felt like many of them spoke to the same trend: appreciation of food has a place alongside the science of nutrition. Registered Dietitian, Food Network host and lifelong food lover Ellie Krieger gave a historical perspective of the nutrition field, showing that some of the earliest dietitians were just as interested in culinary matters and enjoyment of food as the specific substances that people eat. While nutrition has become much more of a science, focused on intakes of nutrients and food-based substances, Krieger urged the audience to consider the enjoyment of food, particularly healthy food, as much as an important part of nutrition as the exact intake of specific nutrients. Another session examined what causes people to select particular foods and make other food-related decisions, including many of the psychological and sensual reasons for food choices. Many registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs got into the field of dairy foods because they love food in general or dairy foods specifically (maybe cheese or ice cream?). While it’s so easy to get caught up in the little details of the job, maybe we can ... Read More

  • Help in the Fight Against Hunger

    September 16, 2013
    Before I worked for IDFA, I worked at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), one of the organizations leading the fight against hunger in the United States.  FRAC’s approach to reducing hunger is to ensure that the federal nutrition programs are widely available to the people in need of them,  and these programs help people get access to healthy foods like dairy products. These federal nutrition programs include the school meal programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.  There certainly has been a great overlap between my former and current work. Another anti-hunger organization, Feeding America , is a coalition of food banks across the United States.  This month, Feeding America is coordinating Hunger Action Month to encourage awareness of hunger and action toward reducing the rate of hunger in this country. USDA released a report this month, estimating the number of Americans who experience hunger or food insecurity.  USDA found that 14.5% of American households were food insecure at some point during 2012, meaning that there was difficulty providing enough food for everyone in the household because of insufficient funds.  More than half of these households use SNAP, WIC or the school lunch program in order to help get the food they need. So this month, celebrate the role that dairy companies play in reducing hunger by being an integral part of federal nutrition programs.  And consider what ... Read More

  • So What Is the 'Food System?'

    September 04, 2013
    All of a sudden, I seem to be hearing about the “food system” on a daily basis. This term has been used in discussions of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, there are workshops at the Institute of Medicine about it and universities are developing programs about it. But what exactly is the food system, and how do dairy companies fit? Here’s a good definition of the food system from Cornell University that describes all the pieces that are included.

    “All processes involved in keeping us fed: growing, harvesting, processing (or transforming or changing), packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming and disposing of food and food packages. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each step.” 1

    It can be thought of as a “farm to fork” view of food. Discussions of the food system often touch on sustainability of food production, availability of particular types of foods and people’s eating patterns—these issues are all linked. Food systems can be thought of on global scale or on a very local scale. View an infographic here. Dairy companies fit right in the middle of the process of the food system with processing and packaging dairy products. This is a link between milk production and the ultimate consumer, with companies using resources like raw materials or processing methods and transforming them into a food or beverage that people will choose to eat or drink. If there is a break down at any particular point in the food system, such as an inability to ... Read More

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