The adoption of proposed mandatory origin labelling on milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products will create unnecessary complications for the dairy industry, the European Dairy Association (EDA) has claimed.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, a spokesperson for the EDA said that the organisation, which represents the interests of the European dairy industry at regional and international regulatory level, does “not deem mandatory origin labelling necessary.”
According to the EDA, it is “important that this kind of legislation is avoided."
“EDA is of the opinion that mandatory origin labelling is not necessary, both for practical and for economic reasons,” an EDA spokesperson said.
“For EDA, mandatory origin labelling does not help the consumer in making the right food choices and is therefore not relevant.”
“Mandatory origin labelling will be a complex system of regulations with no additional useful information on the food product quality for the consumer, and a cause of additional costs for control procedures leading to a more expensive end product.”
Complicate or support?
Last month, the European Commission (EC) launched of a call for tenders for a study on the impact of proposed legislation that would make origin labelling on milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products a legal requirement across the 28 European Union (EU) Member States.
In response, a coalition of British dairy industry stakeholders urged the EC to push through the proposed legislation - claiming that the law would provide much needed support to milk suppliers in the UK, and “encourage, inform and help” British consumers.
The EDA has countered these assertions, claiming that the adoption of mandatory origin labelling for milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products “will make things more complicated for the European dairy industry.”
Impact on cost, availability
Seasonal availability, quality, pricing, and the sustainability priorities of European dairy processors mean that the sourcing of milk and milk ingredients “is not necessarily a unified process,” the EDA spokesperson said.
“It therefore can be that one particular dairy product contains several ingredients, coming from several origins,” the spokesperson said. “And this composition will change, in function of the variable elements, multiple times a year.”
“Practically it will therefore be difficult to determine clearly the origin of a particular dairy product. When assessing the feasibility of a mandatory origin labelling for dairy and dairy products, all these variable elements need to be taken into account as well as their impact in terms of costs and availability.”
The EDA spokesperson added that with the constant enlargement of the EU “European institutions should focus on making the internal market stronger, whilst eliminating trade barriers and national protectionism.”