EU industry calls for protection of dairy produce in future legislation of “misleading” descriptions

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30 Apr 2018 --- Together with the European Dairy Association (EDA) and Eucolait, Copa and Cogeca are urging the EU to continue to ensure that dairy products are protected against misleading sales descriptions in EU legislation and the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).  

The group stresses that the aim of EU legislation on labeling is to provide consumers with information about their food and make sales descriptions more transparent to avoid misleading practices.   

“The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently issued a ruling that states that the terms milk, whey, cream, butter, buttermilk, cheese and yogurt may not be used to describe a plant-based product. This will help to stop food companies who sell products labeled “soya milk” or “tofu butter” from being labeled as “milk” or “butter.”

“The issue is not about having plant-based, innovative products on the market, it is about ensuring that consumers are not misled or confused vis a vis the nutritional characteristics of livestock produce and plant-based produce,” Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen explains.   

“Dairy produce, for example, is full of calcium and a wide range of essential nutrients which is particularly essential for children and the elderly. It is misleading for consumers to see products like soya “milk” and “tofu butter” being described as “milk” and “butter” replacers when talking about absolutely different products whose nutritional characteristics are far from the blend of macro- and micronutrients of milk and dairy,” adds the European Dairy Association (EDA) Secretary-General Alexander Anton.  

“The European Dairy Association and Eucolait, Copa and Cogeca consequently urge the EU to ensure that dairy terms and marketing standards remain protected under EU legislation and are respected by all supply chain partners. They need to be fully enforced by Member States authorities at all times. It is also vital that they continue to be protected under the future CAP and used exclusively for milk and dairy products. Marketing standards set out basic product specifications that have to be respected by all supply chain actors in the interest of ensuring high-quality products and fair competition,” concludes the Eucolait Secretary-General Jukka Likitalo. 

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