Topeka Milk and dairy producers who label their products as having no artificial growth hormones would face new marketing restrictions under a bill that appears headed to the House and Senate.
Under House Bill 2295, producers who state their product is not from cows supplemented with rBST, which is recombinant bovine somatotropin, would have to document the claim and put on the product label a disclaimer that the federal government has determined that rBST makes no difference.
Supporters of the bill Monday said they would put it in a conference committee bill with other agriculture legislation. The measure is backed by the Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association, the Kansas Dairy Association and the Kansas Farm Bureau. They say it’s misleading to label against artificial growth hormones when there are no safety risks associated with them.
But state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, brought several food packages to a House-Senate conference committee to show what kinds of problems the legislation would present.
A Kraft Foods cheese package and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream container each had language on their labels that would have to be changed under the bill, she said.
And she handed out to the committee a letter from the International Dairy Foods Association, which opposes the labeling bill.
IDFA, which represents dairy manufacturing and marketing industries, has filed a lawsuit trying to block implementation of a similar measure in Ohio. The group says the Kansas bill would “limit our rights to label products in a truthful manner.” The group also said the proposal would increase costs and limit the distribution of dairy products.
Francisco said it would make more sense to have further hearings on the measure, but state Sen. Mark Taddiken, R-Clifton and chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, indicated he wanted the bill in the conference committee report and voted on this week.