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Montana Dairy Farmers Concerned About Proposed Milk Labeling Changes

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Montana Dairy Farmers Concerned About Proposed Milk Labeling Changes

Montana’s dairy industry is concerned that a bill proposed by grocery store owner and State Representative Greg Hertz will be damaging to Montana milk producers, and misleading to consumers.  Hertz’s bill, HB272 would change the labeling requirements for milk.

At issue is the “sell-by” date that is currently printed on milk jugs in Montana.

Commonly known as the 12-Day Rule, the “sell by” date assures that for the milk on Montana store shelves, no more than 12 days have passed since pasteurization.  This date is what insures that a majority of milk that Montanans consume is from Montana dairy farmers.

 The proposed dual dating bill will remove the “sell by” date and instead require both a “last sale” date and a “best by” date.  Montana Dairy Farmers say the change will likely cause confusion for consumers, and will facilitate increased imports of older milk from out of state.

Opponents say the bill itself is flawed because it proposes to implement a new labeling requirement, but takes away the Department of Livestock’s ability to implement the program through administrative rules.  For example, under the proposal, there would be no penalties if a store owner doesn’t pull the milk from shelves once it’s reached the 12-day “sell-by” limit.

HB272 will be heard in the House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, January 31.

© Northern Ag Network 2017

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