NFU Opposes Changes in Definition of Cheese

Farmers Union says efforts to use non-milk ingredients in the production of dairy products only serve to increase processor profit margins.

Published on: Jan 19, 2006

National Farmers Union told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Tuesday that it opposes its proposal to change the definition of cheese.

FDA regulates standards of ingredients for over 70 different cheeses. Current standards do not allow for the use of ultra-filtered milk, which is a highly concentrated product as the result of separation by filtration. FDA is now proposing to amend the definition of "milk" and "nonfat milk" as it relates to approved ingredients in standardized cheese production.

"The proposal could potentially jeopardize decades of work and investment by America’s dairy producers and quality ice cream and cheese processors," says National Farmers Union President Dave Frederickson.

Farmers Union says efforts to use non-milk ingredients in the production of dairy products only serve to increase processor profit margins. There is no consumer demand for these changes and certainly no producer demand.

A weakening in the definition of milk products could hurt dairy farmers. Imported dry ultra-filtered milk and milk protein concentrates have flooded the U.S. dairy market, displacing domestic fluid milk and nonfat dry milk due to a substantial price advantage.

"Changing the definition of milk will drastically change America's dairy production as we know it. Processors will seek low-cost, low-quality imported product, not the high-quality, domestically produced milk American consumers have come to depend upon," Frederickson says.