Health, WTO dominate EU dairy talks

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European dairy association European union

World trade discussions and communicating the health benefits of
dairy were the two main topics for discussion in a meeting between
the European Dairy Association and European Commission last week.

WTO update

The European Dairy Association voiced concerns to a Commission agriculture delegation that continuing levels of domestic subsidies for dairy firms in the US were not acceptable.

It re-iterated that the EU had made enough sacrifices to get world trade talks moving, led by its pledge to scrap all export subsidies by 2013.

The trade body said it accepted this meant the EU would have to rely on more added value products in coming years, but warned: "have the possibility to export these products, however, we require improved access to various markets such as the US, Canada and Japan."

EDA secretary general Joop Kleibeuker recently told​ that America's position on market access was "seen more and more by everybody as unrealistic"​.

He said the EU was not standing alone, and that European Dairy Association discussions with developing countries, including Brazil and India, had found they were not so in favour of market access along the American model.


On health, the EDA called for the support of the European Commission and member states' governments in promoting the benefits of dairy products.

It welcomed new health claims rules across the EU, which mean "it will now be possible under strict conditions, to mention nutrition and health claims on products"​.

But, the group raised concerns that authorities and the media had become far too keen to stress the possible negative effects of dairy for consumers.

"The fact that milk contains fat, that milk contains lactose are not at all reasons to advise against the consumption of milk, as this results in not consuming a full series of different, essential components of milk,"​ the EDA told Commission delegates.

The debate over how healthy dairy is has become more intense over the last few months, with some media articles drawing on studies linking dairy to increased risk of certain health problems. Dairy supporters have, however, drawn on other studies backing dairy as risk reducer for osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity.

Related topics Markets Dairy Health Check

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