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Consumer Protection, Taxpayer Groups and Small Business Trade Associations Urge USDA to Review Federal Milk Marketing Orders

Apr 22, 2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Peggy Armstrong
(202) 202-3508

Call Regulations Costly and Outdated

(Washington, D.C. April 22, 2015) Consumer protection and taxpayer watchdog groups joined national and state-based small business associations in weighing in on whether there is continued need for the depression era Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system. Because they are designed to raise the price of milk, the FMMOs have a negative effect on the income and food benefits of federal food program recipients and raise taxpayer costs of government feeding programs that include milk.

The groups responded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recent request for comment on the orders under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which requires periodic review of existing regulations.   According to AMS, the purpose of the review is to determine whether the federal order program should be continued without change, amended or rescinded to minimize any significant economic impact of rules on a substantial number of small entities.

Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, The R Street Institute, National Taxpayers Union, and Taxpayers for Common Sense joined the Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Action, and National Consumers League in sending comments in a letter addressed to AMS today, the comment deadline.

“The FMMO program is authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, and was ‘designed to ensure a stable supply of fresh fluid milk for fluid processors and consumers,’” the letter states. However, in today’s modern economy, the FMMO program actually runs counter to this goal as “Higher beverage milk prices brought about by government pricing effectively function like a regressive tax imposed on consumers, disproportionately affecting fixed and lower income households which spend a higher share of their income on food in general and on milk in particular.”

Read the full taxpayer and consumer protection group letter here.

Read the full grocery and retail small business trade association letter here.

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C, represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies within a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's nearly 200 dairy processing members run nearly 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.

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