IFA welcomes ECJ ruling on dairy substitutes

Pass the butter: A recent article in a Sunday magazine claimed that butter is not as bad for your heart as previously thought

The European Court of Justice have made a ruling on dairy substitutes.

IFA National Liquid Milk Chairperson, John Finn has welcomed this week’s judgment by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which stated that “purely plant-based products cannot, in principle, be marketed with designations such as ‘milk’, ‘cream’, ‘butter’, ‘cheese’ or ‘yoghurt’, which are reserved by EU law for animal products”. 

Mr Finn said fresh milk and dairy products were natural products, rich in naturally occurring varied and valuable nutrients shown to be vitally important for the human dietary needs at every age. 

"While soya or nut based products have been riding on the coat tails of dairy, they are having to undergo significant processing and fortification with nutrients and additives and after that still offer only a fraction of the nutrients of natural, fresh milk," he said.

“There is strong evidence of confusion among consumers around exactly what those products actually are, and many of the claims made by unqualified health and wellbeing commentators in relation to those products are dubious and misleading."

Mr Finn said he believed the ECJ’s decision vindicates the value and quality of fresh milk and dairy produced by European and Irish farmers for consumers, and is a victory for common sense, and the defence of consumer information rights. 

“I would urge all retailers to take due note of this momentous decision, and to take its logic to the next level, by ensuring that, in their supermarkets, those substitutes are not presented to consumers in the dairy cabinets”, he concluded.


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