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CHURCHVILLE, VA. -- According to the Center for Global Food Issues (CGFI), a nonprofit group here, trained campaign workers it recently sent to Arizona grocery and convenience stores found that many of the milk products in the dairy case were "being sold based on false and misleading claims -- many of which violate state and federal regulations for food marketing."
CGFI's surveyors went to 15 stores from eight national and regional grocery chains in Phoenix to check dairy case offerings, interview store representatives, and gain consumer support for their efforts to promote truth in labeling.
Among the findings from the visits:
--All of the stores visited carried some milk products with false or misleading labels based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines and regulations.
--Of the 18 milk brands found sold in the Phoenix-area stores reviewed, over half (55 percent) appeared to violate state and federal guidelines for truthful and non-misleading marketing.
Claims such as "no antibiotics," "no hormones," and "no pesticides," although prominent on milk brand labels found in the reviewed stores, are invalid on any dairy product, as all milk has hormones and none have antibiotics, says CGFI, which is contacting Arizona and federal regulators and the various grocery chains with its findings.
The store checks are part of a campaign by the group to ensure that "dairy producers, retailers, and consumers are informed and protected from unscrupulous marketing interests [that] seek to limit choices in how dairy farmers are allowed to run their businesses, to increase the costs of production, and damage farmers' ability to farm in the most environmentally sound and responsible manners available," notes CGFI in a statement.
Susan Ruland, a spokeswoman from the Washington-based International Dairy Foods Association, told Progressive Grocer that although she didn't know the specifics of CGFI's findings regarding the milk labels in Phoenix stores, the IDFA's position was to support the FDA's regulations and guidance on labeling, and that she was unaware of any dairy producer that wasn't following them.
CGFI is part of the Stop Labeling Lies Coalition of nonprofit science, agricultural, consumer, and public policy organizations.