The ICA has launched a new quality standard to protect consumers following the abolition of the legal standard on the composition of ice cream.
The ruling will allow non dairy products to be sold as ice cream breaking a tradition that goes back more than 100 years.
Until now ice cream had to contain minimum amounts of milk and fat in order to pass the legal food standard but this is no longer the case after the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs axed the legal standard.
Now the trade association for the UK ice cream industry, The Ice Cream Alliance, has launched a campaign to protect the public from “artificial” ice cream by introducing its own national quality standard.
“This rule change has opened the floodgates to inferior products coming onto the market purporting to be traditional ice cream,” said Zelica Carr, Chief Executive Officer of The Ice Cream Alliance.
“We are launching an ICA quality standard to let people know that when they see our logo displayed by vendors they will get a quality product made to traditional recipes.
“The UK ice cream industry is worth more than £1bn to the economy and one of the reasons for its success is its great taste and high quality ingredients.
“Without a legal standard in place there is nothing stopping manufacturers using budget ingredients such as meat protein and meat fats instead of milk and calling it ice cream.
“We are concerned that over time, the public’s confidence in ice cream could be undermined by inferior “artificial” ice cream.
“By looking for the ICA logo consumers can be sure that they are buying a traditional ice cream made with milk protein and dairy ice cream made only with milk fat and protein.”
Defra has made the changes as part of the Food Information Regulations which brings the UK into line with EU regulations. Its report said: “These regulations are the underpinning domestic legislation, to enable Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC) to be enforced in the UK.”
The report added: “Currently a product that is made with fresh cream, fruit and sugar may often not be called ‘ice-cream’ as it does not contain the required amount of milk protein, while a product made with reconstituted dried milk and vegetable oil may be so called. The case that this benefits consumers was not convincingly made during the consultation while the case for removing the national measure, putting UK producers on a level playing field with other EU producers, was.
“There is a standing and widely respected voluntary agreement, the European Ice Cream Association’s (Euroglaces) ‘Code for Edible Ices’2 which can take the place of the mandatory national measures, providing industry with the flexibility it requires to be able to bring new products to market and meet consumer expectations.
“We propose to allow the regulations in respect of ice-cream to lapse on the 13th December 2014 which is when the majority of the new Regulations come into force.”
Further information on the ICA can be found at www.ice-cream.org