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Simpson, Risch introduce bill that seeks to end labeling of plant-based products as 'milk'

It calls on the FDA to enforce its regulations that define milk and cream and stop the labeling of plant-based products as milk, yogurt or cheese.
Credit: AP
In this Feb. 11, 2009, file photo, a shopper looks over the milk aisle at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, Vt. U.S. Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and other members of Congress are pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to enforce a definition of milk that would not include non-dairy products like soy or almonds. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

WASHINGTON — Four members of Congress from dairy producing states have again introduced legislation to prevent the labeling of products from nuts, seeds and plants as milk. They say it's misleading to consumers. 

The bipartisan bill has 33 co-sponsors in the U.S. House. 

It calls on the Food and Drug Administration to enforce its regulations that define milk and cream and stop the labeling of plant-based products as milk, yogurt or cheese.

Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) re-introduced a bill that requires the FDA to take enforcement action against manufacturers labeling non-dairy products as dairy.

The DAIRY PRIDE Act would stop the use of dairy terms such as milk, yogurt and cheese on the labels of non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae. The legislation does not prevent the sale of non-dairy products, only their mislabeling as dairy products.

"I'm proud to be the co-chair of the Congressional Dairy Caucus as it is a key industry to our economy in Idaho. For years I have been sounding the alarm to the Food and Drug Administration for accurate labeling in the dairy industry, only milk comes from a cow - not an almond or coconut or any other fruit or vegetable," said Simpson. "The Dairy Pride Act will provide a commonsense solution to ensure consumers are properly informed."

"If it's not milk, don't call it milk. Same goes for yogurt, butter and cheese. Only real dairy products from actual dairy animals deliver key nutrients and are held to extremely high FDA standards. Idaho's dairy farmers are rightfully proud of their high-quality dairy products. It's only fair that dairy terms be reserved for genuine dairy products," said Sen. Risch.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont says dairy farmers are already struggling to survive and are now facing a growing threat from the misleading practice of marketing plant-based products as milk or dairy products.

Additional cosponsors of the legislation include Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).