Milk Regulators Seek Proper Use of Dairy Product Terminology

Jamie Johansen

State milk regulators requested that the FDA work with them to enforce the proper use of milk and milk product labeling terms, a development the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) hailed as “the strongest statement yet that the abuse of dairy terms has gone too far.”

“It’s time for FDA to work with state agencies in defending standards of identity for dairy products,” said Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president of dairy foods and nutrition.

The pushback by state officials against FDA’s history of inaction on labeling enforcement came Wednesday at the biennial meeting of the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) in Grand Rapids this week. The NCIMS is a national cooperative regulatory program that includes state milk regulatory agencies, dairy companies and FDA. The states collaborate with federal regulators and industry groups to ensure the safety and integrity of dairy products regulated under the Grade “A” program, including fluid milk, yogurt and other dairy products.

During the NCIMS session, state milk safety regulators voted unanimously in favor of a resolution intended to clarify the responsibilities of FDA and state programs in ensuring the proper use of standardized dairy product names.

“The state agencies, through their vote today, acknowledged that more effort is needed from FDA to clarify the role of State Milk Regulatory Programs in assuring the proper use of the standardized names of milk and milk products,” said Briczinski. “FDA needs to stop picking and choosing which regulations it wants to enforce.”

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