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Got Real Milk?
By: State Assemblyman Treig Pronschinske - 12/09/2019

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and noticed that in the cooler section next to the milk, there are nut based products labeled as milk? This session there has been legislation introduced regarding the labeling of dairy, meat, and milk products. With bipartisan support, these three separate bills are going to be beneficial to our local farmers here in Wisconsin that are seeing declines in production and sales partly due to food products not being labeled properly.

It's a shame that this issue has not been addressed before now due to the impact that labeling almond, coconut, flax, hemp, oat, rice, and soybased products as a milk product when they contain zero traces of actual milk and do not come from a mammal. These products are essentially just water, sugar, and usually some kind of nut.

Additionally, there have been ads lately for meatless burgers, but they don't say that on the menu. They will say things like 'impossible burger' instead. This is very misleading and harmful to our meat industry.

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, Cosmetic Act was passed that gives the United States Food and Drug Administration the authority over labeling of products.

In addition, the correct labeling of meat and dairy products are to protect consumers to ensure that when a product says 'meat' or 'dairy' that it actually contains what it says that it does. At the expense of consumers and of our farmers, these products are being labeled as something they are not. There is nothing wrong with consumers having choices. But it is important to be honest in what you are buying. An extreme example of this, is the fact that even some hand lotions are being deemed as 'milk.'

In regard to the status of these three bills, they have all had a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Agriculture that I sit on. The public weighed in and provided testimony for the bills and a public hearing was held in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue, and Financial Institutions that is actually taking a vote on the bills on December 18th at the Capitol.

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