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Dean Foods departing IDFA over labeling issue

Company to divert its advocacy resources to pursuing accurate product labeling through other avenues.

Dean Foods announced this week that it is pulling its membership from the International Dairy Foods Assn. (IDFA), citing the organization’s inability to take a strong stance on accurate dairy labeling.

In a statement, Dean Foods noted that it "has been a strong supporter" of IDFA for many years, but "we have reached a point where one of our key priorities is no longer shared by the entire IDFA organization. More specifically, as one of the largest dairy processors in the country, we are proud of the role we play in providing one of the most nutritious products in the grocery store – milk – to consumers around the nation. With this in mind, we believe it is wrong that many plant-based products are currently marketed using milk’s good name yet are lacking several of the inherent nutrients of their dairy counterparts. Unfortunately, IDFA has been unable to reach consensus and take a stance on this important issue.”

As a result, the company said it can no longer financially support an organization “that is not behind one of our core priorities.”

Dean Foods said it will instead divert its advocacy resources to pursuing accurate product labeling for the benefit of the dairy industry, including farmers, processors and consumers around the country.

“We have appreciated IDFA’s support over the years and wish the organization and its member companies the best,” Dean Foods said.

In a statement to Feedstuffs, IDFA said Dean Foods has been an important member of IDFA and added that it wishes the company well.

“Departures from IDFA are very rare. More than 30 companies joined as members in 2019 alone thanks to a more inclusive association that represents and engages all segments of the growing dairy industry, from milk, yogurt and ice cream to cheese and dairy-derived ingredients. IDFA is proud to advocate on behalf of America’s dairy companies," the organization said.

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