FDA has issued guidance to industry that it will exercise enforcement discretion regarding the use and labeling of fluid ultrafiltered milk (UF milk) and fluid ultrafiltered nonfat milk (UF nonfat milk) to make certain cheeses and related cheese products.
Ultrafiltered milk is milk that is mechanically filtered to concentrate large compounds, like proteins. In the process, smaller compounds, like lactose, are removed, along with water and mineral salts. The resulting protein concentrate is less expensive to ship than milk.
FDA is taking this action now due to recent changes in some export markets that have caused the U.S. dairy industry to experience an oversupply and pricing challenges with domestically produced UF milk. The exercise of enforcement discretion is intended to mitigate, in part, the impact on U.S. companies producing UF milk, while the FDA considers rulemaking concerning the issues about the use and labeling of UF milk and UF nonfat milk in certain cheeses and cheese products.
The FDA is encouraging manufacturers of standardized cheeses and related cheese products to identify fluid ultrafiltered milk and fluid ultrafiltered nonfat milk, when used as ingredients, as “ultrafiltered milk” and “ultrafiltered nonfat milk” when feasible and appropriate. That said, we do not intend to take action against companies that manufacture standardized cheeses and related cheese products that contain fluid ultrafiltered milk or fluid ultrafiltered nonfat milk without declaring them in the ingredient statement, as long as their labels declare milk or nonfat milk in the ingredient statement.
For more information, see:
- Ultrafiltered Milk in the Production of Standardized Cheeses and Related Cheese Products: Guidance for Industry
- Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 part 133 – Cheese and Related Cheese Products
- Requirements for Specific Standardized Cheeses and Related Products (Standards of Identity for Specific Cheeses)