Milk Quality Challenge Dismissed

SPAIN - A study by Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) last year, found that the quality of many milk products varied. A challenge by the dairy sector in March 2012 has been dismissed by the courts, which states that the reputation of the dairy industry has not been damaged by the OCU report.
calendar icon 17 April 2012
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In June 2011, the OCU study of 47 milk brands found huge differences in the quality of milk. The study discouraged consumers from purchasing 10 of the products.

The OCU also claimed that the quality of milk had deteriorated over the last 10 years.

Reacting, the dairy industry requested that the OCU conduct a million dollar campaign in the media to repair the image of the sector.

One company which the study highlighted as having poor milk quality was Asturian Dairy Industries, who had three products dismissed by the OCU including Polesa, Reny Picot and La Vaquita.

The OCU study said that some brands did not provide minimum fat content. It also said that the quality of milk was poorer in terms of calcium and that the calcium/ phosphorus ratio was unbalanced, with often there being too much phosphorus in the milk, likely due to stabilisers.

The study also said that milk is subjected to very high heat treatments - something which the OCU claims is not necessary if the milk is produced in hygienic conditions. OCU said that excessive heating can reduce the nutritional value of the milk.

The Spanish courts have rejected a challenge by the National Dairy Federation. The Federation claimed that OCU's report had damaged the reputation of the dairy industry, and argued that milk quality was not lower than it was 10 years ago.

The Court ruled that the Federation could not argue claims about milk quality as it had not studied milk quality in 2011 to suggest that it was better than milk in 2001. The Court said that the Federation does not have enough evidence to disqualify OCU's report.

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