Interest groups urge USDA review of federal milk marketing lawsConsumer protection organizations, taxpayer watchdog groups and small business trade associations have joined to question whether there is a continued need for the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system, according to the International Dairy Foods Association IDFA.

The groups claim “FMMOs have a negative effect on the income and food benefits of federal food program recipients and raise taxpayer costs of government feeding programs that include milk.”

The groups recently responded to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) request for comment on the federal order program which it is currently under review. USDA is reviewing the program in order to determine if it should be continued unchanged, amended or rescinded to minimize any significant economic impact.

Together, the groups sent their comments in a letter to AMS.

 “The FMMO program is authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, and was ‘designed to ensure a stable supply of fresh fluid milk for fluid processors and consumers,’” the letter states. But the groups say in today’s economy, the FMMO program runs counter to this goal as “Higher beverage milk prices brought about by government pricing effectively function like a regressive tax imposed on consumers, disproportionately affecting fixed and lower income households which spend a higher share of their income on food in general and on milk in particular.” 

Read the full letter here.