Wisconsin Assembly passes three food labeling bills

Wisconsin’s meat and dairy labeling legislation is a step closer to becoming law.  Three bills passed the State Assembly Tuesday that would require food labels not to use terms like milk, cheese, and yogurt if the product did not come from a mammal, and it would stop cultured or plant-based meat substitutes from using the term “meat.”

Rep. Travis Tranel

Representative Travis Tranel was the primary author for one of the dairy bills. He told fellow lawmakers, “The purpose of these bills is just to make sure that we protect the markets that farmers have developed in this state through checkoff programs, spending hundreds of millions of their own dollars educating the public.” Tranel says, “Consumers deserve to know when they’re spending their hard-earned dollars on dairy that it’s actually milk from a cow or a goat. Same thing with meat. When they decide that they want to purchase meat they need to know where that’s from, and I think that’s fair.”

Rep. Clint Moses

Representative Clint Moses is a lamb and beef producer from Menomonie.  He says there are many misleading and trending food label tactics, and it’s hard for consumers to know what they are buying.  Moses told the Assembly other states are taking similar action to push the federal government into enforcing existing regulations. “Similar legislation is now available and in law in at least eleven states including nearby North Dakota and South Dakota, and has been introduced in at least a dozen other states including Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. These bills are something we can do to help consumers make educated choices.”

The three bills unanimously passed the Assembly on a voice vote and were sent to the State Senate.  Governor Tony Evers has told Brownfield he will likely sign them if they reach his desk.

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and Dairy Business Association applauded the Wisconsin State Assembly’s passage of three bills and called for quick action in the Wisconsin State Senate, as well.

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