Milk and Meat sounding, addition of water to meats. Lessons from Mexico

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Milk sounding, Meat sounding, addition of water and salt to meats. Some lessons from Mexico, where parliament is quivering to ensure transparency on labels and product quality for consumers.

Transparency in labeling. Lorem ipsum

The golden rule in consumer protection law is transparency, in labeling and advertising. This is true in Europe for any goods or services, according to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. (1) The general criterion is expressed in the Food Information Regulation in a series of prohibitions.

Food information. do not mislead, in particular: (a) as to the characteristics of the food and, in particular, the nature, identity, properties, composition, quantity, shelf life, country of origin or place of provenance, method of manufacture or production‘ (EU reg. 1169/11, Article 7.1.a).

The Lorem ipsum on label layouts, however, too often leaves room for wording and images that are ‘ambiguous and confusing to the consumer.’ Exactly what the European legislature intended to prohibit. (2) The writer himself has denounced a series of milk-related deceptions (so-called Milk sounding) that the Antitrust Authority has ignored, despite the Alt of the IAP (Institute for Advertising Self-Discipline).

Milk sound ing and Meat sounding. No more deception in Mexico

On 12.12.19 the Mexican Chamber of Deputies approved, with a plebiscite majority (432 votes in favor and one abstention), the proposed reform of the Ley de la Propiedad Industrial. (3) For the express purpose of prohibiting the registration as trademarks of ‘signs, phrases, graphics, evocations, communications or trade names likely to deceive or mislead the public. Understanding as such those that constitute false or misleading claims about the nature, composition, quality, or business origin of the products or services they are intended to distinguish‘. (3)

Owners of already registered trademarks will have to declare their commitment to use them in good faith, in compliance with the new rules. Under penalty of having their respective registrations declared null and void by the Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial. The proposal, which was unanimously approved in a second vote (with 447 votes in favor) had been recorded on 2/21/19 by the chairman of the Comisión de Ganadería‘ (Livestock Commission) at the Cámara de Diputados, Hon. Eduardo Ron Ramos (on the cover).

Eduardo Ron Ramos clarified that the new rules-which are expected to be approved without reservation by the Senate soon-apply also to imitations of honey and other products of the beekeeping chain. Involving the prohibition of misleading suggestions in marketing information about foods instead made with sugar, fructose or other sweeteners. Mutatis mutandis, new Articles 90 and 95 of the Industrial Property Law will prevent reference to the names of meats, cuts and preparations or meat products on products that constitute imitations thereof. (4)

Added water in meats, information and limits

On 6.8.19, the House of Representatives Standing Committee had approved another proposal by Hon. Eduardo Ron Ramos. In this case, to ensure transparency on the label but also meat quality. Urging the Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (COFEPRIS) to give proper consideration to the practice of injecting brine-that is, water and salt-to chicken, beef, and pork. In addition to other ingredients and additives.

The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Animal Husbandry pointed out that this practice is widespread on products that are the staple diet of the Mexican people. (5) It is therefore necessary:

Specify on the label the amount of water added to the meats. In the same way as prescribed in Europe, as noted above, (6)

Define the quantitative limits of water addition, as a percentage of meat. An absolute avant-garde, compared to the rules in place everywhere in the world.

Injecting water and salt into meats is widespread–on both sides of the Atlantic, even in Italy as we have seen–for obvious profit reasons. The producer actually sells a share of water as if it were meat, or meat preparation (e.g., ‘roast’), or meat product (e.g., cooked ham).

Bloating with water, fiber and additives also serves to mask the poor quality of meats, making them chewy and artificially ‘flavorful.’ Turning a natural food into an ultra-processed product, even a junk food because of overabundant salt contents. And it is therefore important to define the limits, for the protection of public health.

The Mexican lesson

Italy and Mexico share the tricolor and temperate climate, conviviality and the pleasure of cooking. And it is useful to note the attention expressed by the Mexican Parliament toward salt, which is still consumed in excess everywhere, generally in amounts twice the safe threshold indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO). With direct impact on cardiovascular disease-the leading cause of premature mortality globally-but also

As for Lorem Ipsum, the EU Court of Justice has finally clarified the ban on recalling milk and cheese on products that do not contain it (so-called
Cheese sounding
), in a ruling on 14.6.17. Conversely, textual and graphic references to meats and their cuts or preparations on products presented as their ‘substitutes’ (so-called Meat sounding) continue to be tolerated. (7) A misleading practice that is bound to confuse consumers about the role of individual products in the diet. (8)

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) See dir. 2005/29/EC, implemented in Italy by d.lgs. 206/05 (so-called Consumer Code), as amended. Most recently, see https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/tutela-dei-consumatori-approvata-la-nuova-direttiva-ue

(2) See reg. EU 1169/11, Articles 7 and 36

(3) Avalan en San Lázaro reformas contra etiquetado engañoso en productos lácteos, Aresteguinoticias 12.12.19, https://m.aristeguinoticias.com/1212/mexico/avalan-en-san-lazaro-reformas-contra-etiquetado-enganoso-en-productos-lacteos/

(4) On artificial meat, so-called Lab Meat, see previous articles https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/carne-di-pollo-artificiale-l-ultimo-azzardo-della-biologia-sintetica-americana,

https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/impossible-burger-con-sangue-vegetale-ogm

(5) Consumption in Mexico in 2017 was estimated at about 4,411 tons of chicken, 2,395 tons of pork, and 1,840 tons of beef

(6) See article https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/lista-ingredienti-abc and its footnote 9

(7) The European Parliament, in the previous legislature, had in fact considered the possibility of reforming the CMO (Common Market Organization) regulation for the specific purpose of ensuring consistency in the use of names referring to meat and its derivatives. V. https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/meat-sounding-il-parlamento-europeo-vota-contro

(8) Precisely because of the compositional and nutritional variety of the growing number of ‘veg’ references on the market, the writer has advanced the idea of ad hoc labeling (see https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade .it/consum-attori/vegetariano-e-vegano-identità-e-garanzie-una-proposta). Without neglecting, even on the ultra-processed products in this category, the problem of recurring excess salt/sodium. V. https://www. greatitalianfoodtrade.it/salute/quel-vegano-che-ti-spezza-il-cuore, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/salute/troppo-sale-nei-prodotti-confezionati-vegani-e-vegetariani-studio-australiano