Take Action – Support the DAIRY PRIDE Act!

Take Action – Support the DAIRY PRIDE Act!

On January 12, 2017, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced a bill that should get the attentionTake Action - Support the DAIRY PRIDE Act!
of everyone with a vested interest in the dairy industry, S. 130 DAIRY PRIDE Act. In short, this bill aims to improve and protect the integrity of food labeling standards by compelling the FDA to enforce existing labeling requirements, specifying that foods labeled as “milk” and “cheese” must come from dairy animals. An identical companion bill (H.R. 778 DAIRY PRIDE Act) was introduced on January 31 in the House by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Joe Courtney (D-CT), David Valadao (R-CA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA).

Take Action – Support the DAIRY PRIDE Act!

Cleverly, DAIRY PRIDE is actually an acronym. The full name of the bill is “Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act”. This bill has already received endorsement from many prominent industry groups such as the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). It is refreshing to see pro-dairy legislation introduced and there are things every American reading this post can do to help it be made into law. Every day, we are losing consumers and shelf space in the the grocery to almond, soy and other alternatives, which don’t provide near the nutritional value or cost-effective price point as real milk.

The DAIRY PRIDE Act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which is comprised of 23 senators from Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In the House of Representatives, the bill has been referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, made up of 33 representatives from districts located coast-to-coast.

This bill provides a great opportunity for everyone in the industry to get involved in our country’s legislative process…so, what can you personally do to get involved?

To make it extremely simple for dairy farmers to send a message to their elected officials voicing their support of this bill, NMPF has created an easy-to-use form on the Legislative Action Center page of their website. With a few clicks and a little bit of personalization, individuals can send a message to their House and Senate members, encouraging them to support the DAIRY PRIDE Act. Click here to go to the form on NMPF’s website.

Take Action – Support the DAIRY PRIDE Act!

If you prefer to reach out to your elected officials more directly with an email or maybe even a phone call, you can click here to find a list of your state’s Senators and click here to find a list of your Representatives. Below is a version of a suggested message drafted by NMPF, but individuals should feel free to personalize it. Whether contracting your congressman by phone or email, be sure to identify yourself as a constituent from their state or district, and keep your testimony focused on a specific issue and to the point. Be respectful, and don’t ramble with your message. Be sure to include the specific name of the bill you are contacting them about – in this case that would be S.130/H.R. 778 – DAIRY PRIDE Act.  This is an important issue – please take a minute to let your voice be heard.

If you want to share this information with friends or fellow dairy producers, here is a link to a one-page, printable information sheet from NMPF that summarizes current status of labelling standards and outlines why the DAIRY PRIDE Act is important and what it would do if it were enacted.

Below is the suggested contact letter drafted by NMPF, from their Legislative Action Center page (link above):

Take Action – Support the DAIRY PRIDE Act!

As a dairy farmer and constituent, I respectfully urge that you cosponsor the DAIRY PRIDE Act (S. 130/H.R. 778), introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Representatives Peter Welch (VT) and Sean Duffy (WI). This legislation seeks to ensure that current federal law regarding the labeling of food products is enforced. Plant-based products that use the term “milk” or “dairy” are misleading and fall well short of the nutritional value of real dairy products. This legislation has the strong support of dairy farmers like me, as well as the companies who process and market the milk and dairy products we produce.

As you may know, milk and other dairy products are the #1 source of nine essential nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Federal law recognizes these benefits and dictates that milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and sour cream must be made from real dairy, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not effectively enforced these standards of identity.

As a result, many imitation products successfully skirt existing labeling regulations by using the term “milk,” “cheese” or other dairy-specific terms, misrepresenting their nutrient content to consumers who recognize the unique nutritional value of real dairy products. At the same time, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicate that most Americans are not consuming the recommended intake for dairy, and as a result are not meeting the recommended intake for the important nutrients provided by real dairy products.

To maintain the integrity of dairy products and to give consumers accurate nutrition information, FDA should fully enforce existing dairy standards of identity. This enforcement of current law would be ensured under the DAIRY PRIDE Act (S. 130/H.R. 778) and I urge your support for it. Plant-based products have a place in the retail market, but should – like every other product in the marketplace – abide by current law to avoid misleading consumers about their nutritional contents.



Take Action – Support the DAIRY PRIDE Act!

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