by Nathan Barker Friday, 06 March 2009 11:04
MORRISTOWN, NY - New York State Senator Darrel Aubertine is sponsoring a
bill in the senate to prohibit products containing caseinates from being
labeled as dairy products. Controversy and hot words are flying among dairy
farmers and cheese producers over the bill and the wording it contains.
Casein is a natural milk protein that accounts for approximately 80% of the
naturally occurring proteins in milk products. The word comes from the
Latin word for cheese (*caseus*) and is the protein that bonds with rennet
in the cheese-making process to form curds.
Aubertine's legislation, Senate Bill S2365, is not intended to change the
labeling of natural cheese or milk products but to prevent products that use
Milk Protein Concentrates from being referred to as "dairy" products. Milk
Protein Concentrates are used in place of liquid milk in products like diet
shakes, energy bars, and processed cheese foods (such as the kind of
'American' cheese that comes in single wrapped slices, or the kind of cheese
that comes in a spray can.)
Aubertine says that the importation of MPC's for the bulk food industry is
reducing demand for locally produced liquid milk and contributing to the
decreasing milk prices. The bulk of MPC's are imported from the Ukraine,
China, India, and New Zealand and are not regulated as a food product
because casein is also the primary ingredient in white glue.
Aubertine hopes that by changing the rules on what can be labeled as a dairy
product, he will force manufacturers to use real milk instead of imported
MPC's in their products if they want to keep the dairy seal. He says "With
milk prices falling, we need to do all we can to help farmers get a premium
price for their milk. By using MPC's and caseinates instead of milk,
processors undermine the value of the milk we get from farms throughout New
York State... As dairy farmers know, if it's not made with milk, it's not
The problem is in the wording of the bill. One section of S2365 as proposed
reads "Prohibition of milk protein concentrates, caseins, and caseinates.
Any product that is enhanced with milk protein concentrates, caseins, or
caseinates, shall not be classified or labeled as a dairy product."
The obvious difficulty with the wording is that natural milk products
already contain casein and that many "enhanced" milk products such as skim
milk with extra protein and vitamins, would be affected as the proposed bill
The Farm Bureau opposes the legislation as written for precisely this
reason. They voice justified concern that over-regulation in this area will
hurt New York Dairy farmers, not help them.
Last Updated ( Friday, 06 March 2009 15:34 )