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Market in milk and milk products for drinking milk

EU Legislation

Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 (OJ L 299, p1, 16/11/2007 ) of 22 October 2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation)

Amended by

  • Council Regulation (EC) No 247/2008 (OJ L76, p1, 19/03/2008) of 17 March 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation)
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 361/2008 (OJ L121, p1, 07/05/2008) of 14 April 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 273/2008 (OJ L88, p1, 29/03/2008 ) of 5 March 2008 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/1999 as regards methods for the analysis and quality evaluation of milk and milk products

Since the 1st July 2008, the rules set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 replaced those of the Regulation 2597/97/EC as amended. They apply in lieu of the provisions of the Dairy Produce Acts 1924 - 1984, the Creamery Acts 1928-1934 and the Milk and Dairies Acts 1935 -1956. Accordingly, only the provisions of these Acts which do not touch on matters covered by the Regulations, (mainly administrative and commercial aspects) are now enforced. It is intended in due course to replace all outdated legislation with measures dove-tailed with the Regulations.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 as amended defines the following sales descriptions which must be used for drinking milk which is intended for delivery to the consumer without further processing:

  • raw milk: milk which has not been heated above 40 °C or subjected to treatment having equivalent effect;
  • whole milk: heat-treated milk which, with respect to fat content, meets one of the following requirements:
  1. standardized whole milk: milk with a fat content of at least 3.50 % (m/m). However, Member States may provide for an additional category of whole milk with a fat content of 4.00 % (m/m) or above ( Ireland has not made provisions for this additional category),
  2. non-standardized whole milk: milk with a fat content that has not been altered since the milking stage either by the addition or removal of milk fats or by mixture with milk the natural fat content of which has been altered. However, the fat content may not be less than 3.50 % (m/m);
  • semi-skimmed milk: heat-treated milk whose fat content has been reduced to at least 1.50 % (m/m) and at most 1.80 % (m/m);
  • skimmed-milk: heat-treated milk whose fat content has been reduced to not more than 0.50 % (m/m).

Council Regulation (EC) No 361/2008 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 permits the introduction of products with a fat content other than the existing three categories laid down in points (b), (c) and (d) ( i.e. whole milk/semi-skimmed milk/skimmed milk) by allowing heat treated milk not complying with the fat content requirements laid down in points (b), (c) and (d) above to be considered drinking milk provided that the fat content is clearly indicated with one decimal and easily readable on the packaging in the form of“… % fat”. Such milk must not be described as whole milk, semi-skimmed milk or skimmed milk.’.

Without prejudice to point (b)(ii) above , only the following modifications shall be allowed:

  • in order to meet the fat contents laid down for drinking milk, modification of the natural fat content by the removal or addition of cream or the addition of whole milk, semi-skimmed milk or skimmed milk;
  • enrichment of milk with milk proteins, mineral salts or vitamins;
  • reduction of the lactose content by conversion to glucose and galactose.

Modifications in the composition of milk referred to in points (b) and (c) are allowed only if they are indelibly indicated on the packing of the product so that it can be easily seen and read. However, such indication shall not remove the obligation as regards nutrition labelling laid down byDirective 90/496/EEC of 24 September 1990 on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs.

Where proteins are added, the protein content of the enriched milk must be 3,8 % (m/m) or more.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 as amended requires that drinking milk must:

  • have a freezing point close to the average freezing point for raw milk recorded in the area of origin of the drinking milk collected;
  • have a mass of not less than 1 028 grams per litre for milk containing 3.5 % (m/m) of fat at a temperature of 20 °C or the equivalent weight per litre for milk having a different fat content;
  • contain a minimum of 2.9 % (m/m) of protein for milk containing 3.5 % (m/m) of fat or an equivalent concentration in the case of milk having a different fat content;

Commission Regulation (EC) No 273/2008 lays down certain reference methods for the chemical, physical and microbiological analysis and sensory evaluation of milk and milk products to be used under the arrangements provided for in the common organisation of the market in milk and milk products established by Regulation (EC) No 1255/1999 and the rules for applying those methods.

Last reviewed: 8/7/2010

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