On Friday, April 27, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP) and the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) sent a joint letter to the Food and Drug Administration communicating the industry’s concerns about misleading advertising of dairy products.  The letter was written on behalf of more than 350 members in the two organizations. Producer members of PDMP and NEDPA collectively own over 130,000 cows with farms of all sizes and represent a powerful presence in the dairy industry.

Jonathan Lamb, chairman of NEDPA, and Logan Bower, president of PDMP, expressed the mutual dismay of their organizations “at the misleading advertising of dairy products, particularly that of fluid milk that is proliferating in the marketplace.” 

Calling the current drive to capture market opportunity “alarming and unacceptable,” the letter requests the FDA’s “help in maintaining consumer confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of our dairy products.” It concludes by requesting an opportunity for PDMP and NEDPA leadership to meet with FDA officials concerning the issue.

The organizations cite the advertising of “rBST-free milk” as an example of how labeling can mislead public perception and “erode consumer confidence in milk and dairy products in general.”  They point out that the FDA’s own thorough research led to the approval of the use of rBST as “perfectly safe.” In addition, “regulatory agencies from over 30 other countries agree that milk from rBST-supplemented cows is safe” and “more than 20 of the most prestigious medical associations and scientific societies in the world have provided positive, independent assessments.”

They noted that other advertising of dairy products reads “no hormones”, “no pesticides” or “no antibiotics,” which implies “that other choices in the dairy case are unsafe and contain hormones, pesticides or antibiotics.”  Bower and Lamb point out, “All milk is tested for antibiotics before it is processed and packaged for sale. Additionally, the 2003 FDA residue monitoring study indicates milk, butter and cheese were all free of pesticide residues.”

This joint letter “echos the requests” of the others in the industry in requesting the FDA enforce current laws regulating the labeling and promotional practices for dairy products.

The complete text of the letter along with the address for the FDA is located at www.pdmp.org/issues/Labeling_IssueFDA.pdf.

This new effort by PDMP and NEDPA to affect a resolution with the FDA is a continuation of their previous joint statement on rBST, which “calls on the entire supply chain . . . from producers, to cooperatives, to processors, to retailers, to consumers – to work together.” More information about each organization can be found at: www.nedpa.org  www.pdmp.org

Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania