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Senators ask FDA to crack down on non-dairy milks, cheeses

Senators ask FDA to crack down on non-dairy milks, cheeses
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A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end the labeling of plant-based products as milk, cheese or yogurt.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, the coalition of dairy-land senators urged the agency to issue rules to “ensure that dairy terms may only be used to describe products that include dairy.”

“Dairy farmers across our nation work hard to ensure their products are healthy, nutrient-dense, and in compliance with FDA regulations regarding the use of dairy terms," the senators wrote in a letter this week.

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“Imposter products should no longer be able to get away with violating law and taking advantage of dairy’s good name,” the wrote

The signatories included Republican Sens. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischWhy the US should rely more on strategy, not sanctions Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Senators blast Turkey's move to convert Hagia Sophia back into a mosque MORE (Idaho), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoBarrett says she did not strike down ObamaCare in moot court case GOP Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for coronavirus 22 GOP attorneys general urge Congress to confirm Barrett as Supreme Court justice MORE (Idaho) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGideon holds 3-point lead over Collins in new poll The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE (Maine) and Democratic Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinInfrastructure, energy investments urgently needed to create U.S. jobs Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Baldwin calls for Senate hearing on CDC response to meatpacking plant coronavirus outbreak MORE (Wis.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyWorking together to effectively address patient identification during COVID-19 Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (Vt.) and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithGOP sees path to hold Senate majority Minnesota Senate candidate Jason Lewis discharged from hospital The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE (Minn.), as well as independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Ocasio-Cortez: Republicans don't believe Democrats 'have the stones to play hardball' MORE (Maine).

The letter is the latest attempt from dairy industry advocates to crack down on the increasingly popular plant-based alternatives to products derived from animal milk. Producers of nut, oat, soy and hemp-based milks and cheeses have cashed in as smaller American dairies falter due in part to falling domestic demand for cow milk.

Advocates for the dairy industry say plant-based products labeled as milk and cheese deceive consumers, who assume they include the same health benefits animal-derived foods.

“This is both unfair to our hardworking dairy farmers and problematic for consumers, making it harder for Americans to make educated decisions regarding what they feed themselves and their families,” the senators wrote.

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Risch and Baldwin have also co-sponsored a bill to ban products made from plants and algae from being sold as milk, cheese or yogurt.

A Republican state lawmaker has also filed a similar measure in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. 

Boosting U.S. dairy has been a bipartisan goal in Washington for decades, and lobbyists for the industry hold impressive clout among lawmakers. President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE’s revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) includes a provision loosening Canadian barriers to U.S. dairy products, a longstanding goal for industry allies.