In a move that was well timed for June Dairy Month, the State Assembly unanimously approved a group of Truth-in-Labeling bills on Tuesday that would require manufactures of food products to refrain from using words like milk or meat if they do not originate from an actual animal. The measures were introduced by Sen. Howard Marklein, along with Reps. Travis Tranel and Clint Moses.
As part of Assembly Bill 73, companies would be banned from labeling products as ‘cream, yogurt or cheese’ if the food is not made from the milk of a cow, sheep, goat or other mammals. Assembly Bill 74 requires that only products labeled as ‘milk’ come from an animal. A third bill, Assembly Bill 75, would essentially do the same for meat products.
“These are great bills that support Wisconsin dairy farmers and the market place they have developed over the past several decades through checkoff programs,” Rep. Tranel said after the vote. “These programs helped to promote the safe and highly nutritious products dairy farmers produce on our state’s family farms. I hope that my colleagues in the State Senate will quickly move to pass these bills, so they can be on Governor Evers’ desk for his signature before June ends.”
In order for the dairy and milk bills to be enforced, a total of 10 states must pass the same restrictions within the next 10 years. So far only Maryland and North Carolina have passed milk labeling laws.
Meanwhile, several state farm organizations praised the vote, including the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Dairy Business Association and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
“Members of the Wisconsin State Assembly sent a strong message today, that consumers deserve to know exactly what they’re buying and serving to their families,” said WCMA President Dave Buholzer. “Real dairy milk and cheese deliver superior nutrition, and a taste that can’t be beat–and America’s Dairyland has the opportunity this June Dairy Month to lead the charge for labeling transparency.”
Supporters say the bills would bring Wisconsin in line with existing but currently unenforced U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations defining these products. Similar efforts are pending on the federal level.
Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection