Current laws, at both national and EU level, establish the rights of consumers to safe food and to accurate and honest information.
In the EU, rules are put in place on the labeling of foodstuffs to enable European consumers to get comprehensive information on the contents and the composition of food products. ENSA members have always ensured their products feature accurate and substantial nutrition information so that consumers can make an informed choice, ultimately leading to a balanced and healthy diet.
ENSA sees a number of opportunities where its products could be labeled better to improve communication and information to consumers.
Although most consumers refer to soy drinks by this name, the dairy industry is against soy drink producers using the term “soymilk”. This is because the word “milk” is a protected dominion reserved only for mammary secretions. (This stipulation is found in the EU’s Single CMO Regulation). ENSA believes soy products should be permitted to use this term as it is the name consumers most commonly use, confirmed by traditional usage. Soy drinks are nutritionally equivalent, used in the same way and at the same consumption moments as dairy milk (for example in coffee, on cereal, in cooking).
Lactose-free labeling is extremely important to lactose-intolerant consumers looking for a fully-fledged alternative to dairy products. Thanks to their nutritional composition including high-quality protein and beneficial fatty-acids, soy foods are a suitable alternative to dairy products. ENSA believes labeling of soy foods as naturally lactose-free would benefit consumers, particularly those who are lactose-intolerant. Read ENSA’s position on why lactose-free labeling matters.
Nutrition and Health Claims
In 2010, the European Commission rejected a claim on dietary cholesterol. ENSA regrets this decision as it prevents products that are naturally free from dietary cholesterol from bearing this label. The claim that soy products are naturally free from cholesterol is a fact and consumers should be adequately informed about it.
ENSA believes the conditions of use for health claims should not discriminate against products that are naturally suitable to bear the claim. This has been achieved in some claims such as the nutrition claim on saturated-fat free which allows products that naturally contain this property to make the claim. Similarly, the pending health claim on lactose helping to decrease gastro-intestinal discomfort includes products that are low in lactose as well as naturally lactose-free. ENSA is working to ensure such conditions remain.