Dairy cam­paign for clar­ity

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIAN dairy farm­ers have joined an in­ter­na­tional push to ban the term “milk” from be­ing used to de­scribe soy, rice, oat, nut and other plant ex­tracts.

“These prod­ucts are try­ing to im­i­tate milk when they’re clearly not,” Dairy Con­nect farmer pres­i­dent Gra­ham Forbes said.

“They should not be mar­keted us­ing the term ‘milk’.”

Dairy Con­nect, which has the back­ing of lo­cal pro­ces­sors, met ad­vis­ers from Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce’s of­fice last week seek­ing sup­port.

Mean­while, farm­ers in the United States’ largest dairy state, Wis­con­sin, have backed a sim­i­lar cam­paign led by Sen­a­tor Tammy Bald­win.

Sen­a­tor Bald­win has drafted the Dairy Pride Act, known in full as De­fend­ing Against Imitations and Replacements of Yo­gurt, Milk, and Cheese to Pro­mote Reg­u­lar In­take of Dairy Every­day Act, which bans the terms milk, but­ter and yo­ghurt from be­ing ap­plied to non-dairy prod­ucts made from nuts, seeds and plants.

The Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice re­cently ruled the term “milk” and other milk prod­uct names could not be used to des­ig­nate a purely plant-based prod­uct. In June the court ruled the term “milk” and other milk prod­uct names are re­served for “an­i­mal prod­ucts”.

But in Aus­tralia soy, al­mond and other plant ex­tracts are able to ex­ploit a loop­hole in the na­tion’s la­belling laws.

Aus­tralia’s Food Stan­dards Code de­fines milk as “the mam­mary se­cre­tion of milk­ing an­i­mals, ob­tained from one or more milk­ings for con­sump­tion as a liq­uid milk or for fur­ther pro­cess­ing”.

How­ever, a sep­a­rate sec­tion of the code al­lows plant prod­ucts to use the word milk “as long as the con­text en­sures con­sumers are not mis­led e.g. co­conut milk, soy milk etc”.

Dairy Con­nect chief ex­ec­u­tive Shaughn Mor­gan said the good name, qual­ity and nu­tri­tional value of mam­malian milks needed to be pro­tected.

A spokes­woman for Mr Joyce said the Gov­ern­ment com­mended those cam­paign­ing to raise the pro­file of Aus­tralian dairy prod­ucts.

She said when con­sumers buy milk or dairy prod­ucts they should rea­son­ably ex­pect it to be sourced from cow’s milk un­less clearly stated oth­er­wise.

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