Proposals by the UK to ban dairy descriptor names for plant-based products have been branded “ludicrous” by an MP speaking in the House of Commons this month.
MP Kerry McCarthy (Labour, Bristol East) was referring to draft guidance that the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently considering that would effectively ban the use of words such as “alternative to X” or play on words such as “mylk” and “not milk”.
The MP rightly points out that the EU has already rejected a proposal, known as Amendment 171, to ban terms that evoked reference to dairy products. The UK guidance, should Defra approve it, would therefore be more strict than the rules currently in place on the continent.
“I do not think that anyone buying a hot dog actually thinks that it has canine content. Does the Minister think that the British public is so stupid to think that a product called “oat milk” comes from a cow?” McCarthy asked Dr Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State for Defra, in the House of Commons on January 12th.
The minister, clearly not aware of the existence of the guidance and that Defra has said it is giving it “careful consideration”, answered the MP by saying: “My advice is not to believe everything that we read in the papers”.
“Kerry McCarthy MP is right. This is not about consumer confusion at all. Clearly, everyone knows that oat milk comes from oats,” says Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK.