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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Europe Begs for Soya Milk

Americans can drink soy milk. That is, they can purchase the processed white liquid made from soybeans from manufacturers who can legally call it soy milk. Europeans can't. They have to call it soy juice or soy drink, even though they are allowed to sell coconut nut and almond milk.

That's nutty. MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Anna Laperrouze has called on the European Community (EC) to reconsider its 20-year-old ruling - from a time before soy was a popular drink.

An article by Laura Crowley on FoodNavigator.com notes that:

Volumes of soya beverages consumed in North America, Western Europe and Japan have more than double since 2002, according to Zenith International. In 2006, 1.5m European households tried soya products for the first time and the total global consumption was 1.188m litres in 2006, with a retail value of €3.3bn. Zenith predicts growth to 1,900 litres and €5.35m by 2011.

Bernard Deryckere, president of the European Natural Soyfoods Manufacturers Association (ENSA), admittedly not the most objective source, makes the case that this leads to confusion for consumers and a lack of quality control.
Deryckere told FoodNavigator.com: "We need a legislative framework to ensure that all soya-based drinks are produced to the same level, with criteria requiring companies to use a certain amount of protein, and have certain limits of fat. This would help create quality products, benefiting the consumer as well as the companies."

Soya products are also not able to make various nutritional claims on their packaging, despite many reports on soya's health benefits as an alternative to dairy.

Bureaucracy is bureaucracy. The EC is supposed to draft a yearly report on such matters. They haven't done one for 20 years. Since the last set of regulations were passed, in fact.

Thanks a lot, EC.

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