ODA Amends Dairy Labeling Rule

Minor changes intended to maintain strong customer focus.

Published on: Apr 14, 2008

Robert Boggs, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, made minor modifications to the proposed dairy labeling rule that reflect written and oral comments received in conjunction with the public hearing held at the department on April 8. The rule deals with what claims may or may not be made on the labels of milk and milk-based products distributed in Ohio.

“It is the department’s responsibility to ensure labels give consumers accurate and balanced information about the dairy products they purchase,” Boggs says. “We believe the amended dairy labeling rule meets this objective.”

The amendments to the proposed rule offer clarification to language requirements for dairy production and compositional claims as well as for font-size requirements with respect to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) production disclaimer. Amendments to the rule include:

• A requirement that the contiguous FDA production disclaimer be no smaller than seven point font, in addition to previously outlined requirements.

• Clarification that hormone-related claims, such as “No Hormones”, “Hormone Free”, “rbST Free”, “rbGH Free”, “No Artificial Hormones”, and “bST Free”, are false and misleading.

• Clarification that accurate production claims regarding the use of antibiotics or pesticides will be allowed.

• Clarification that the rule does not prohibit seals or marks, such as the Organic seal, authorized by a federal law or Ohio statute.

The department filed the original rule with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on Feb. 7 and made modifications after receiving input at public hearings held March 12 and April 8. The rule is scheduled to be reviewed by JCARR on April 21. To view a copy of the rule, visit the Register of Ohio Web site at www.registerofohio.state.oh.us.