Macra calls for milk content of Irish ice-cream to be protected

Macra na Feirme has called on the Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, to ensure the milk content of Irish ice-cream is protected.

These calls come following the Minister’s decision to instigate a review, via public consultation, of the 1952 regulation that governs the milk and sugar content requirements in ice-cream.

However, the milk content in Irish ice-cream needs to be protected as it could have detrimental effects to the dairy industry, Macra na Feirme National President, Sean Finan said.

Any lowering of milk content in ice-cream will have a knock-on effect on the dairy industry.

“We recognise the need to address sugar content as part of national efforts to lower obesity levels, however, milk content must not suffer as a result,” he said.

Ireland has the third highest consumption of ice-cream per capita in Europe and Bord Bia estimates that the industry is worth close to €80m.

Current regulations ensure ice-cream must have minimum milk-fat, milk solids and sugar levels.

Macra na Feirme is calling on the Minister and her officials to minimise the risks to milk suppliers in any proposed changes to the food standards regulations concerning ice-cream, Finan said.

There is a fear out there that if this regulation is lifted, without anything to take its place, manufacturers will be able to use milk alternatives and fillers which will reduce the volume of milk needed.

“This will have a significant impact on young dairy farmers who contribute greatly to what is a very large industry.

“The Minister’s intentions are certainly in the right place, but I would request that she considers the consequences of revoking this regulation.

“The health benefits of dairy are well known and it seems unfair to put young farmers at risk of reduced income when sugar content alone could be targeted,” he said.

The challenges facing young farmers with Brexit are looming large and this is adding another layer of complication, which is unnecessary at this time, Finan added.