U.S. dairy food standards remain frozen in time, limiting dairy processors’ and manufacturers’ ability to innovate and provide customers with new, exiting products that could lift sales.
Connie Tipton, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), says that leaves the industry in a stagnated limbo. She made her comments this morning in her opening speech to the Dairy Forum 2013 here in Orlando.
There are currently 262 food standards within U.S. government regulatory rule book. Ninety seven of these, or 37% of all food standard regs, involve dairy products.
"The current formal rulemaking approach required to change dairy standards is cumbersome, inefficient and resource intensive, so the FDA simply throws up its hands and does nothing. In fact, there have been no changes to any standards since 1998 . . . not a single one in 15 years," she says.
"Yes, we need clear boundaries. But within those boundaries we need the ability to improve our products using 21st century expertise and technology."
Later this year, IDFA will propose federal legislation that allows meaningful innovation without changing the characterizing ingredients in the food, she says. "With such a change, dairy companies could use safe and suitable alternative ingredients and processes and still market their products within the existing dairy food categories that consumers have come to know and recognize…. This will allow us to bring new product movement to our traditional dairy markets," she says.