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March 31, 2017

Russia Could Lead Change on Milk Labeling of Non-Dairy Foods

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

For months, the dairy industry has been fighting to have the term “milk” removed from packaging of products that don’t contain dairy. The Dairy Pride Act, a piece of legislation that would ban the use of the word “milk” in products like almond milk, is being lobbied in Washington D.C. by dairy interest groups. Incidentally, Russia may have just solved the problem.

According to USDA, Russia has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of a desire to amend regulations to distinguish between products that contain milk fat and those that contain milk fat substitutes. The draft regulation describes new rules and standards for labeling such products, including branding, descriptions and label placement.  Under the revised regulations, products containing milk fat substitutes would be labeled as such and would not be allowed to use dairy terms like butter or cheese. 

Some examples of products that would no longer be able to keep their name under the Russian rules include Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Cashew Milk, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and Coconut Cream.

Read the full transcript of the Russian amendments here.

The public comment period for the draft will close on May 10, 2017. Interested U.S. parties are encouraged to share their comments and concerns with the National Institute of Standards and Technology at usatbtep@nist.gov. For potential inclusion in the U.S. official position, USDA requests comments be submitted by April 26, 2017.   

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