EU ministers back caseins reforms

By Martin Banks

- Last updated on GMT

MEPs overwhelmingly backed the proposals in a European Parliament vote
MEPs overwhelmingly backed the proposals in a European Parliament vote

Related tags: European union

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to back reforms to EU legislation controlling the production and use of edible caseins.

In a vote on Wednesday (October 7) in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, deputies overwhelmingly backed proposals on the issue made by Italian Christian Democrat MEP Giovanni La Via. The report was adopted without any changes (642 votes in favour, 54 against and nine abstentions). 

La Via’s proposals aim to strengthen controls regarding caseins - dairy derivatives often used in meat products as emulsifying and thickening agents, including burgers and pies. 

The reforms were tabled in a report that noted tighter controls are necessary because of various concerns, including the potential impact on consumers allergic to these ingredients. 

Moisture, milk fat content​ 

The proposed changes include the setting of the maximum moisture content for edible caseins at 12% (instead of previous 10%). The maximum milk fat content for edible acid casein has been set at 2% (instead of 2.25%). 

This follows the European Commission’s proposal in 2014 to adapt legislation on edible caseins and caseinates to changes in EU food legislation and international standards. The vote means that a new EU directive will now come into force. 

EU agriculture and rural development commissioner Phil Hogan said the draft law would help the European food industry benefit from a “level playing field”​ on the world market regarding casein controls. He was speaking at a parliamentary debate on the issue on October 6. 

‘Very technical’

Thanking La Via for his work on a “very technical”​ issue, Hogan told MEPs that the Commission had aimed to help EU producers compete “in an area where innovation helps add value to milk production in the form of high-tech ingredients that serve customers both in the ​[European] Union and indeed outside it”​. 

“The text aligns the EU rules to the international standards,”​ added Hogan. “Differences that existed in the past are no longer justified today, as no public subsidy is now paid to casein production in the Union… following reforms to the EUCommon Agricultural Policy (CAP)​.” 

Caseins are proteins found in milk with an essential amino acid composition required for human growth and development. They are used for food and non-food applications. 

Caseinates are the dissolvable salts acid caseins. They are composed of all the essential amino acids, contain excellent nutritional properties, and have a minimum protein content of about 90%. 

Autonomy to legislate​ 

Eurosceptic UK Independence Party MEP Julia Reid highlighted political slant at the debate, saying: “We do not think that these issues should be regulated at an EU level, and we believe that Britain should have the autonomy to legislate in this domain.”​ 

However, Reid said she “firmly believed in preserving the health and well-being of all citizens by guaranteeing transparency when it comes to the ingredients of the food they consume”​. 

“We also think that it is important for companies involved in food production to have access to the information they require in order to label the final product, particularly in the case of allergens.”

Related topics: Meat

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars