WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has introduced the Dairy Country of Origin Labeling Act, which would extend mandatory country-of-origin labeling to all dairy products sold at retail, including milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and butter.
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., co-sponsored the bill.
“Ohioans and all Americans have a right to know where their food was produced,” Brown said in announcement. “This bill supports both families and farmers by requiring country-of-origin labeling on all dairy products. With increasing dairy imports, country-of-origin labeling provides critical information as households decide how to feed their families.”
The U.S. imported more than $1.2 billion worth of dairy products during the first six months of 2009, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. Almost all of these imports were cheeses, at $444.5 million; casein and caseinates, at $320.7 million; milk protein concentrates, at $119.7 million; and “other” dairy products, at $262.5 million.
Other than imported cheese, the vast majority of dairy retail items consumed in the U.S. — such as yogurt, butter, ice cream and fluid milk — are produced here as well.
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