Dairy processors face COOL legislation

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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WASHINGTON — Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Al Franken of Minnesota and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin have introduced legislation calling for the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) of dairy products. The legislation was introduced Oct. 14 and referred to the senate committee on agriculture, nutrition and forestry.

"Ohioans and all Americans have a right to know where their food was produced," Mr. Brown said. "This bill supports both families and farmers by requiring country-of-origin labeling on all dairy products. With increasing dairy imports, country-of-origin labeling provides critical information as households decide how to feed their families."

Country-of-origin labeling requires retailers to identify for customers the source of certain foods. Currently only meats, nuts and raw produce are subject to the requirements, and all ingredients used in processed foods are exempt. The new bill, S. 1783, would retain the exemption for all processed foods except fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, butter and all other dairy products.

"This legislation is misguided, because it would do nothing to help America's dairy farmers," said Jerry Slominski, senior vice-president of legislative affairs and economic policy for the International Dairy Foods Association. "Imposing additional labeling mandates on dairy products, which are not imposed on other processed foods, will reduce demand for dairy products and encourage food manufacturers to substitute vegetable-based or other protein ingredients instead of dairy ingredients."

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