Politics & Law

UK MP Kerry McCarthy Condemns Proposed Alt Dairy Labelling Restrictions

A British Member of Parliament has spoken out against proposed restrictions on the terms that can be used to market alt dairy products in the UK.

Kerry McCarthy described the proposals, which would ban the use of phrases such as “alternative to milk” on product packaging, as “ludicrous”. Terms similar to those used for dairy products, such as “mylk” and “cheeze”, would also be forbidden if the guidance is approved by Defra (The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).

“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 MP pointed out that similar proposals, such as the EU’s Amendment 171, have been rejected.

ProVeg amendment 171
© ProVeg

“Entirely undemocratic”

Food awareness organisation ProVeg has also condemned the proposed bans, saying they will make it more difficult for consumers to choose healthy and sustainable options. The organisation points out that no public consultation has taken place, and that industry representatives such as the Plant-based Food Alliance UK have not been consulted.

ProVeg International has previously spoken out against “draconian” proposed restrictions on plant-based products elsewhere in the world, including France, Turkey, and South Africa.

“Kerry McCarthy MP is right. This is not about consumer confusion at all. Clearly, everyone knows that oat milk comes from oats,” said Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK. “We all know that it’s a front to censor, restrict and financially damage the plant-based sector, which the dairy industry sees as a major threat. No plant-based business has been consulted on this proposal either, so the process so far has been entirely undemocratic. It’s time now for Defra to properly consult on what is a wholly unnecessary proposal.”

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