"Maintaining unrestricted entry for imports of milk protein concentrates (MPC) and casein" is a top priority for the Consumers for World Trade (CWT), according to a letter sent to the US Congress by the CWT, writes the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) this week.
The letter is part of a communications effort, led by the IDFA and the US Coalition for Nutritional Ingredients, to oppose US legislation (H.R.1160/S.560) that would impose tariffs on imports of MPC and casein.
"From a consumer perspective, restrictions on imports of MPC and casein are unwelcome for a number of reasons," the letter states.
"First, casein and MPC are not substitutes for non-fat dry milk as our domestic dairy producers claim. Access to imports of MPC and casein is particularly critical because there is no domestic production of these processed dairy ingredients. If tariffs or tariff-rate quotas are imposed, these ingredients will cost about 50 per cent more, causing enormous price hikes consumers will ultimately bear."
MPC and casein are specialised, milk-derived ingredients used in a wide variety of consumer foods, including infant formula, nutrition bars, sports drinks, processed cheese products, coffee creamers, snack foods and hot dogs.
In addition, the CWT - a US organisation that promotes consumer interests in international trade policy issues - warned that "erecting barriers to trade in violation of [World Trade Organisation] commitments will only trigger a cycle of retaliation that will be detrimental to consumers and US agricultural and food exporters."