WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The National Food Processors Association has asked the Food and Drug Administration to head off attempts at the state and local levels to label milk containing the synthetic milk hormone Bovine Somatotropin.
FDA has already issued guidelines intended to prevent labels from touting non-BST milk as being purer. The agency has repeatedly said the synthetic hormone, used to stimulate milk production, has no material effect on milk and thus is harmless to humans and that any labels indicating the opposite are banned.
In a letter to FDA Commissioner David Kessler, NFPA President John Cady noted how the Vermont legislature recently passed a bill contrary to FDA's voluntary labeling guidelines. The bill, which is expected to be signed by the governor, issues voluntary guidelines for milk containing no BST and a requirement that milk and milk products sold in Vermont containing BST "be labeled as such."
Cady said FDA's BST guidelines issued in February apparently haven't sent a clear message.
An FDA spokesman said agency officials are aware of the Vermont case and others, but are assessing whether more definite guidelines are needed.
"A strong and explicit statement of FDA policy concerning BST labeling and the vital need for uniformity among state and federal requirements in that regard will go a long way toward assuring that such uniformity will be achieved," Cady wrote in an April 12 letter.
"We believe that most state legislators would be unwilling to contradict a clear and explicit FDA policy."
"The agency can go a long way toward stemming the tide of misleading and non-uniform state requirements . . . by issuing a statement of policy," he wrote.