Wisconsin lawmakers move truthful labeling bill forward

Midwest Farm

(WFRV) – The State Assembly Committee on Agriculture approved legislation aimed at stopping misleading labeling of imitation dairy and meat products.

The Dairy Business Association applauded the move. “First and foremost, this is about transparency for people deciding what food to buy,” said Amy Penterman, president of DBA, who farms with her family. “You can find any number of products that are labeled to mimic real milk, cheese and other dairy foods. Customers deserve to know the differences between those products and the real deal. Variety can be a good thing; dishonesty is not.”

The committee today approved two bills that seek to ban the labeling of food as milk or as a dairy product or ingredient if the food is not made from the milk of a cow or another hooved mammal. A third bill would essentially do the same for meat products.

Final approval now rests with the full Assembly and full Senate. If approved, a number of other states would have to follow suit for the dairy measures to become law in Wisconsin, under federal interstate commerce rules. Some states have already done so. The Assembly approved the bills last year but the Senate was unable to complete its session in March due to the onset of COVID-19. The start of a new legislative session made it necessary for the process to start over.

“Dairy farmers are proud of the wholesome food we produce. We work day in and day out, and make significant financial investments in our farms and in marketing programs. We want to ensure the milk is of the highest quality and customers know the nutritional value of real dairy products,” Penterman said.

You can read more about the legislation here.

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