J. Mark Huffman
Dairy industry representatives are lining up in opposition to proposed new federal requirements for trans fat labeling on food products. The current FDA rule requires most foods to list trans fat content on a new line in the Nutrition Facts panel. That rule takes effect in 2006. But the agency is also considering other proposals to require even more trans fat information on food labels, including a "daily value level." The International Dairy Foods Association says there is not sufficient research nor scientific agreement about how much trans fat is harmful to set a daily level. Although dairy products contain very low levels of trans fat, nearly all dairy product labels will have to be changed in order to accommodate the new line in the Nutrition Facts panel, even if the product can state "0" grams of trans fat. In its comments filed with FDA, the dairy group said it is concerned about the cost of requiring additional changes to food labels.

Exports Slow

USDA's Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP) has gotten off to a slow start in the new fiscal year, which began July 1. So far, there's been very little information from the government about its projections for the program in the coming year. Then again, there's very little excess dairy product in the U.S. supply, following a spring of rising prices and tightening supplies.

Food Security Center

The Department of Homeland Security is establishing the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says four such centers will be set up nationwide, to prevent and respond to food-borne attacks in the United States. The centers, to be based at major universities, will bring together researchers, industry expert and government leaders to respond to a wide range of scenarios. Ridge says the four centers comprise a key part of the government's effort to protect the food supply from terrorist attack.