New dairy manifesto against nutrient profiles

6 March 2010

The European dairy industry still has serious objections against the planned introduction of the European nutrient profiles. These profiles take no account of the overall diet of the consumer and discriminate against dairy products according to the European Association of Dairy Processors (EDA).

The European Commission has spent years preparing the nutrient profiles, which contain conditions for maximum quantities of fat, saturated fat and trans fatty acids. All processed products must comply with the profiles. In various parts of the food industry there is considerable apprehension about the nutrient profiles. Because there are relatively high fat levels in dairy, products containing dairy are particularly badly affected. If products fail to comply with the nutrient profiles, they are not allowed to make any health claims.

Special position
However, it is not yet certain whether the nutrient profiles will actually be introduced. The EDA believes that dairy products should be afforded a special position if the profiles are actually introduced. It feels supported by the European Food Safety Authority, Efsa, which highlighted this issue in 2008. If it had a special position, dairy could be classified as part of a healthy diet.

EDA, however, fears that in the case of nutrient profiles, all food will have to comply with a balanced nutrient composition. If that is the case, dairy will have a difficult time.

Apart from saturated fats, dairy also contains essential unsaturated fats, argues EDA. The Association also says that by no means all saturated dairy fats are unhealthy. Furthermore, dairy is also said to help people maintain a stable weight and to limit the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes.