85.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesRUTNIK: 'ANTI-CONSUMER' BAN APPLIES ONLY TO MILK

RUTNIK: 'ANTI-CONSUMER' BAN APPLIES ONLY TO MILK

Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Andrew Rutnik said Wednesday the enforcement of a V.I. law prohibiting the sale of milk with a pull date more than 10 days from its pasteurization applies to milk only.
Even so, a Virgin Islands senator is reportedly looking into amending the law, the sudden enforcement of which has sparked grumbling among consumers and supermarket owners across the territory.
Signs began appearing in local supermarkets this week informing customers that the law, which has been on the books for more than a decade, meant stateside milk with a 14- to 18-day shelf life would no longer be sold.
Rumors and questions flew about whether other products containing pasteurized milk would be affected, but Rutnik said no — only pasteurized milk.
According to a statement from Rutnik's office, "DLCA would like to make it clear that this law refers to pasteurized milk only and not milk products containing pasteurized milk … such as yogurt, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, skimmed milk, reconstituted or recombined milk and cream, milk beverages, skimmed milk beverages, butter and cheese." Those products are not subject to the V.I. law.
"The V.I. is the only place that has a law like this," according to Rutnik, who said with current technology pasteurized milk has a shelf life of 14 to 18 days.
Rutnik said that he was "pressured" by the owner of Trans-Caribbean Dairy Corp., David Schuster, to start enforcing the law.
"I was against it," Rutnik said. "I think it's anti-consumer."
Rutnik gave the stores until Oct. 1 to comply with the law. He said he hoped legislators would move to amend the law.
At least one senator reportedly intends to do just that.
Sen. Roosevelt David is considering drafting an amendment to the law, according to a spokesman. But he had yet to do so.
In the meantime, Fred Hintz, president of Trans-Caribbean, said, "My personal position is the code date on milk sold in the V.I. should be the same as the date code at the plant where it is pasteurized."
Hintz explained when milk is marked for export it is sometimes given a longer pull date than is legally allowed in the market where it was pasteurized. "I think it's only fair that the pull date be the same as where it is produced," he said.
One of the problems affecting local competition with stateside companies, according to Rutnik, is during the summer months when schools are out, stateside dairies slash their prices.
Hintz agreed, saying some of those companies practice "unfair predatory pricing," meaning they sell milk at unfairly low prices, just to "dump it."
Schuster said some of the dumped milk is sold for as little as 50 cents a half gallon.
"The true cost of a product," he said, "must include transportation and shrinkage," meaning spoilage or outdating. "With a perishable product like milk, the shrinkage is very high."
Schuster added that unlike stateside milk companies, if the product becomes outdated, "We have to take it back. There are hidden costs in putting milk on the shelves."

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,761FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Andrew Rutnik said Wednesday the enforcement of a V.I. law prohibiting the sale of milk with a pull date more than 10 days from its pasteurization applies to milk only.
Even so, a Virgin Islands senator is reportedly looking into amending the law, the sudden enforcement of which has sparked grumbling among consumers and supermarket owners across the territory.
Signs began appearing in local supermarkets this week informing customers that the law, which has been on the books for more than a decade, meant stateside milk with a 14- to 18-day shelf life would no longer be sold.
Rumors and questions flew about whether other products containing pasteurized milk would be affected, but Rutnik said no -- only pasteurized milk.
According to a statement from Rutnik's office, "DLCA would like to make it clear that this law refers to pasteurized milk only and not milk products containing pasteurized milk ... such as yogurt, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, skimmed milk, reconstituted or recombined milk and cream, milk beverages, skimmed milk beverages, butter and cheese." Those products are not subject to the V.I. law.
"The V.I. is the only place that has a law like this," according to Rutnik, who said with current technology pasteurized milk has a shelf life of 14 to 18 days.
Rutnik said that he was "pressured" by the owner of Trans-Caribbean Dairy Corp., David Schuster, to start enforcing the law.
"I was against it," Rutnik said. "I think it's anti-consumer."
Rutnik gave the stores until Oct. 1 to comply with the law. He said he hoped legislators would move to amend the law.
At least one senator reportedly intends to do just that.
Sen. Roosevelt David is considering drafting an amendment to the law, according to a spokesman. But he had yet to do so.
In the meantime, Fred Hintz, president of Trans-Caribbean, said, "My personal position is the code date on milk sold in the V.I. should be the same as the date code at the plant where it is pasteurized."
Hintz explained when milk is marked for export it is sometimes given a longer pull date than is legally allowed in the market where it was pasteurized. "I think it's only fair that the pull date be the same as where it is produced," he said.
One of the problems affecting local competition with stateside companies, according to Rutnik, is during the summer months when schools are out, stateside dairies slash their prices.
Hintz agreed, saying some of those companies practice "unfair predatory pricing," meaning they sell milk at unfairly low prices, just to "dump it."
Schuster said some of the dumped milk is sold for as little as 50 cents a half gallon.
"The true cost of a product," he said, "must include transportation and shrinkage," meaning spoilage or outdating. "With a perishable product like milk, the shrinkage is very high."
Schuster added that unlike stateside milk companies, if the product becomes outdated, "We have to take it back. There are hidden costs in putting milk on the shelves."