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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan Amendment Protects Wisconsin Cheese Makers

Jun 11, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today announced he will join colleagues from Wisconsin, Vermont, New Hampshire, Oregon, Connecticut, New York and California to introduce a bipartisan amendment that would prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from banning the practice of wood-aging in cheese making.

“I am proud to join my colleagues to stand up for common sense regulations and support America’s cheese producers.  This amendment seeks to protect hundreds of small business owners and artisanal cheese makers in Wisconsin and across the country. Government regulations should protect consumers from bad practices and those who break the rules, not ban a proven, centuries-old process which would devastate American cheese makers. It is unfortunate the FDA issued this rule in a misguided attempt to protect consumers.”

Background

The FDA traditionally uses a "comment rule-making" process as a way to include public discussion on a particular issue before making a final ruling. In this case, the FDA did not use this process and instead went ahead and banned the wood-aging process.

  • Wisconsin, the nation’s largest cheese producing state, with more than 11 million pounds of cheese produced in 2013. 
  • The Wisconsin dairy economy, almost half of the state’s agricultural economy, has an annual economic output of about $26 billion and supports about 11,000 family farmers.
  • Wisconsin dairy industry is the state’s single largest industry in terms of economic impact. 
  • Employment in Wisconsin’s agriculture processing sector is 251,800 jobs.

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