SHELDON, VT – Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) held a press conference today at the Howrigan Dairy Farm in Sheldon, VT, calling for passage of the DAIRY PRIDE Act to reverse a proposed FDA rule allowing beverages derived from plants to be labeled ‘milk’. The rule poses a serious threat to the already-precarious dairy industry in Vermont and risks creating confusion among consumers. The Senator was joined by Howrigan Dairy Farm owner and Dairy Farmers of America Northeast Area Director Harold Howrigan, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts, and Agri-Mark member and farmer Joanna Lidback.
“Our dairy farmers work hard to produce a nutritious product that’s at the core of our state’s culture and economy. Calling plant-based beverages ‘milk’ isn’t just incorrect. It’s an insult to the work our farmers do every day,” said Sen. Welch. “Vermonters know: milk is milk. We need to pass the DAIRY PRIDE Act and stick up for Vermont dairy farmers.”
“I am grateful to Senator Welch, who continues to fight for Vermont’s dairy farmers and consumers,” said Harold Howrigan. “The Dairy Pride Act will require the FDA to finally do their job and enforce the existing regulations on milk labeling.”
DAIRY PRIDE, which stands for Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday, would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae to no longer be mislabeled with dairy terms such as milk, yogurt, or cheese.
Sen. Welch has championed the DAIRY PRIDE Act since the 115th Congress when he introduced the bill in the House of Representatives. As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Rural Development and Energy subcommittee, he joins Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Susan Collins (R-ME) to re-introduce the bill and call for appropriate labeling of dairy and non-dairy products, as well as additional support for Vermont farmers.