Motion filed in dairy labeling suit

SALEM, Ohio — The International Dairy Foods Association and the Organic Trade Association have filed a motion for summary judgment in the case challenging Ohio’s dairy labeling rule.

The lawsuit filed by the groups in June claim that the state’s rule violates commercial free speech and interferes with interstate commerce. It asks for an injunction to stop the implementation of the labeling regulations.

The ruling

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland enacted an emergency ruling Feb. 7 that regulated the information allowed to appear on dairy product labels. Products may be labeled “from cows not supplemented with rbST” if that claim is verifiable.

The label must also include a U.S. Food and Drug Administration disclaimer stating, “no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows.”

The disclaimer must be printed on the same label panel as the rbST-related claim, and in the same font, style, case, color and at least a seven point type.

While production claims are permitted on labels, statements about the composition of milk (no hormones, hormone free, rbST-free, rbGH-free, and bST free) are not.

RbST, or recombinant bovine somatatropin, is a synthetic growth hormone used to stimulate milk production in dairy cattle.

The law went into effect May 22 and there is a 120-day implementation period for manufacturers to bring their labels into compliance.

Make a decision

The motion for summary judgment asks the court to issue a decision on the request to stop the implementation of the labeling law.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has until Aug. 15 to file its opposition to the motion.

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