The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining strengthened coordination between the FDA and the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Foreign Agricultural Service to facilitate the export of milk and milk products from the United States. U.S. dairy exports are valued at nearly $6 billion annually.
Both agencies play critical roles in facilitating foreign sales of American-made dairy products, which is recognized and appreciated by the U.S. dairy industry. This MOU will draw upon the expertise of FDA as well as USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Foreign Agricultural Service to deepen and streamline their work together on the issues facing dairy exports to the benefit of U.S. dairy farmers and manufacturers.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation worked with both agencies to advance this new approach to dairy export collaboration. NMPF and USDEC point out that foreign competitors are making advances in international markets, making efforts to expand overseas opportunities for U.S. dairy critical to the long-term health of U.S. dairy farmers and processors.
“Today’s announcement of an interagency MOU on dairy trade between USDA and FDA is the result of years of conversation and efforts between stakeholders within the U.S. dairy industry and the U.S. government to establish consistent guidance on tackling the rising number of export challenges facing our industry. This MOU will help our industry continue to grow in an increasingly competitive global environment,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC.
“This new partnership ensures that the staff at USDA and FDA are working together in the most efficient way possible to lower barriers for our farmer’s dairy exports. Increasing U.S. dairy exports will strengthen the health of our farmers and rural communities, which is more important than ever as America’s dairy industry faces new and unprecedented challenges. We appreciate all of the hard work from both agencies and stand ready to support the USDA and FDA’s commitment to open new doors for U.S. dairy exports,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.
The FDA is the competent authority providing regulatory oversight of programs that cover U.S. dairy facilities, ensuring the safety of milk and milk products, while the USDA, through its dairy grading service, is the lead agency on issuing dairy sanitary certificates, coordinating interagency collaboration related to U.S. exports of milk and milk products, and negotiating with foreign countries on certifications to meet their importing requirements.