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Tag ‘yoghurt’

No, Mail on Sunday, the EU is (obviously) not banning yogurt and cheese from school dinners

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The Mail on Sunday on 9 February served its readers a headline skilfully cooked up to suggest the EU was going to ban cheese and yogurt from their kids’ school meals.

“Enjoy a yogurt at school? Hard cheese, says EU. Eurocrats want to ban snacks in healthy eating campaign”.

It went on: “Brussels bureaucrats want to stop British children being given cheese and yogurt at school.”

The paper drafted in experts to point out the blindingly obvious – that there is no danger in moderate portions of cheese.

It declined to point to another blindingly obvious fact: that “Brussels” cannot and does not want to ban British schools from serving dairy products.

By the time a few elements of reality crept into the story, it seems some readers were choking on their cornflakes with disgust at mental images of “Brussels bureaucrats” blockading school gates against yogurt lorries and depriving the nation’s youth of good old English cheddar.

One reader commented: “how did we get into a situation where unelected Eurocrats can dictate what our children eat for lunch?” Another fulminated about “faceless foreigners from the EU interfering in our lives”.

Presumably they did not get as far as the bit half way down the piece where Mail on Sunday finally lets slip that in fact this story is not about the prohibition of cheese at the school dinner table.

It is about proposals for changes to the EU School Milk and School Fruit Schemes, whereby “Brussels provides £ 8million a year for UK school breakfast clubs, morning snacks and lunch.”

A useful contribution no doubt to schoolkids’ diets, especially in disadvantaged areas, but merely a supplement to the school food provided by the UK authorities and containing just as much milk, cheese, yogurt and cream as those authorities think appropriate, without any EU involvement.

As if that were not enough, it is not even correct that the changes to the scheme will mean schools can no longer use it to provide yogurt or cheese.

The schemes were drawn-up against a background of declining consumption among children for milk and fruit and in a bid to help tackle poor nutrition.

The Commission published in complete transparency on 30 January proposals to revise the schemes and combine the milk and fruit elements to reduce red tape and make them more efficient. Those proposals will now go to Member States and the European Parliament for debate and amendment, so elected Ministers and MEPs will decide on the future of the schemes, just as they – and not “bureaucrats” – decide on all EU legislation

Under the Commission’s proposals, yogurt and cheese can still under certain circumstances be included as occasional supplements, though the scheme will focus on milk and fruit, as their consumption is continuing to decrease the most.

To underline just how much of a storm in a yogurt pot this story is, cheese and yogurt account for only a fifth of provision Europe-wide under the current milk scheme.

What is more – and this is perhaps where the Mail on Sunday story really takes the cream cracker –as far as the Commission is aware, the UK does not distribute cheese at all under the current EU scheme.

It may do so under national schemes, but those are not affected by the changes.

Of course, this type of journalism is on one level good for a laugh. On another it is pulling the wool over readers’ eyes and distorting debate.

Yoghurt to be renamed

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

 Brit yoghurt – EU says we have to call it Fermented Milk Pudding (Sunday Mirror 5 March 2006)
British yoghurt will be renamed “fermented milk pudding” – if Brussels has its way. Under plans being discussed by EU officials, only yoghurts made using the sour-tasting bacteria according to traditional Bulgarian recipes will be called “yoghurt”.

There are no plans to rename yoghurt as heat fermented milk pudding. This is a recycled story, once again: Discussions in 2003 centred around a harmonised definition of yogurt to make trading easier for manufacturers across the EU, including those from the UK who were unable to sell some of their products in France. However, no official proposals were presented at the time and none are intended.

Yoghurt to be banned

Monday, November 10th, 2003

‘Ludicrous’ EU officials ready to ban yogurt (The Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2003, page 7)
Officials at the European Commission are preparing to ban yogurt from Britain because it does not conform to their definition of a standardised Euro-pudding. Under proposed legislation that could become law next year, all yogurt sold in Britain would have to be labelled “fermented milk”.

Yogurt gets a culture shock (Daily Express, 11 November 2003, page 19)
It’s a bit of a mouthful, but Brussels bureaucrats wants to replace the word “yogurt” with the label “mild alternate-culture heat-treated fermented milk”. They aim to bring in a law next year to standardise the dessert across Europe.

The European Commission would like to make trading easier for yogurt manufacturers, whilst ensuring consumers are properly informed, but no official proposals have been drawn up. At present UK yogurt manufacturers cannot sell some of their products in France, which is the type of problem the commission is trying to address. Given the different types and tastes of yogurt imported and exported between EU countries, the commission believes that consumers should know exactly what type they are buying. The commission’s documents suggest that additional terms such as “heat-treated” or “mild” perhaps be added to yogurt labels, but there is no suggestion the word “yogurt” would be banned. In any case, if and when the commission adopts these ideas as formal proposals, they will then need to be debated and scrutinised in the European Parliament, and ultimately voted on by the Council of Ministers.

£700,000 to stop yoghurt going runny?

Friday, January 22nd, 1999

More than £700,000 of Euro cash is to be spent finding out why yoghurt goes runny. British university researchers who have been handed the £720,000 European Union grant will spend three years trying to develop a creamy consistency without using additives.
(The Express, 22 January 1999, p29; The Evening Standard, 21 January 1999, p4; The Telegraph, 22 January 1999, p9)

A team lead by scientists at Huddersfield University, will work with colleagues in Belgium, France, Norway and Sweden to develop bio-friendly organisms, such as lactic acid bacteria, to naturally thicken custards, frozen desserts along with other fermented dairy products including yoghurts. St Ivel, the dairy product manufacturer in Britain and Rhone Poulenc/Rhodia in France will also be involved in the research. Artificial substances and gelatins made from cattle bones are frequently used to thicken these products at present. Researchers will meet regularly and will report back to the European Commission who will monitor their progress. It is hoped the end result will be a cheaper and more natural product.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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