Bulgarian Dairy Processors Snub Health Warning on Imitation Products

Business | November 21, 2012, Wednesday // 12:00|  views

Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Dilyana Slavova, head of the National Association of Dairy Processors, has opposed the proposal of Bulgarian Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naydenov that milk products containing vegetable fat should carry health warnings.

In a Wednesday interview for the morning broadcast of private TV station bTV, she said that "harmful" labels would constitute a paradox because it would mean that the product was not supposed to be on the market, given that it was a staple.

Slavova argued that Naydenov's proposal was inadequate and would stir up a storm in Europe because it concerned food products which were not supposed to be on sale if they contained harmful ingredients.

She noted that it was an EU-wide practice to produce expensive dairy products and cheaper products containing vegetable fats.

Slavova made clear that foods containing vegetable fat could not carry the "dairy products" label and there were strict rules about labeling, adding that the majority of companies in the sector in Bulgaria adhered to these principles.

Commenting on the proposed health warning on milk products with vegetable fat, Dimitar Zorov, head of the Bulgarian Association of Dairy Processors, suggested that Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister had made a personal statement in his capacity as a consumer.

Zorov backed the idea for differentiation through labeling.

He claimed that the description of the vegetable fat content on the label was the key to the solution of the problem.

Zorov explained that the production of imitation dairy products was a business worth billions and with a huge lobby on an EU level and in Bulgaria.

The head of the Bulgarian Association of Dairy Processors reminded that producers using clean raw materials were suffering losses due to unfair competition because their products were more expensive, while companies using harmful additives secured substantial profits at the expense of quality.

Speaking at the opening of the Clean Food forum on Tuesday, Naydenov insisted that dairy products containing vegetable fat were harmful to health and were supposed to carry health warnings like packs of cigarettes.

Representatives of the dairy processing industry, however, commented that the problem would be solved through clear-cut labeling standards rather than through shocking warnings.

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Tags: dairy products, palm oil, Miroslav Naydenov, Agricultural Minister, food safety, labels, harmful


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