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"The FDA on Friday issued guidance on cheese labeling that is aimed at alleviating some of the oversupply concerns that U.S. dairy producers blame on Canada's restrictions on ultra-filtered milk from the U.S. The agency said it will “exercise enforcement discretion” over the labeling of fluid ultra-filtered milk and fluid ultra-filtered nonfat milk that is used in certain standardized cheese products while it considers rulemaking on such labeling. The move essentially allows more cheeses in the U.S. to use the ultra-filtered ingredients...FDA said it is encouraging cheesemakers to list “ultra-filtered milk” and “ultra-filtered nonfat milk” when those ingredients are used. It is not clear how much product would be affected by the guidance. The agency said it does not intend to take any action against cheesemakers using “fluid ultra-filtered milk or fluid ultra-filtered nonfat milk without declaring them in the ingredient statement, as long as their labels declare milk or nonfat milk in the ingredient statement.” A spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation described the guidance as "a positive first step," but said it continues to review the details. The Canadian industry's recent move to lower prices for ultra-filtered milk to the minimum global price has been a major issue for U.S. dairy producers. The measure was intended to encourage Canadian cheesemakers to use up a glut of milk protein byproduct caused by increased milk production to meet rising demand for butter. U.S. farmers, who had been exporting ultra-filtered milk tariff-free, charge that the pricing policy now makes it hard to compete north of the border. Ultra-filtered milk, a fairly recent innovation that can be used in cheese production, is one of the few dairy products that had escaped import restrictions enshrined in NAFTA as a result of Canada's supply management system. Canadian farmers blame their U.S. counterparts for the excess production."

Posted August 11th, 2017