Food Label Disputes Continue to Rage

Food Label Disputes Continue to Rage

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Dairy products on grocery store shelves Dairy products on grocery store shelves

October 10, 2019

Dean Foods is leaving the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) because the group won’t oppose labeling plant-based beverages as milk. In a press release, the company says they can’t continue to financially support an organization that doesn’t agree with one of their core values. 

An IDFA spokesman says that departures from the association are rare and that they’ve welcomed more than 30 new members this year as they try to be more inclusive of those who represent more of the dairy industry. 

The National Milk Producers Federation also released a statement “whole-heartedly” supporting Dean Foods’ decision to leave over ‘label integrity.’

Elsewhere in the dairy industry, the American Butter Institute is pressuring Congress to enforce label laws. The group sent letters to House and Senate committees on commerce, saying they must compel the Food and Drug Administration to uphold the law. 

In a press release, they point out that the legal definition of butter has been in place since 1886, but increased consumption has lead to the rise of more “butter imposters.” They also claim that FDA’s non-compliance with label laws are usurping power from Congress.

And in the meat industry, plant-based food groups in Missouri have challenged the state’s meat labeling laws, which prohibit plant-based products from using meat terms. A federal judge declined to block the law, stating that it prohibits companies from misleading consumers, and specifically noted 
that Tofurkey, one of the plaintiffs, shouldn't have a problem with the law because their labels weren’t misleading. 

The coalition also sued Arkansas over a similar law, claiming it censors free speech. According to a company spokesperson, Tofurkey won’t sell their products 
in the states if the laws aren’t overturned.

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