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Chains still make mistakes when selling cheese substitutes

mlecne vyrobky.jpg The issue of cheese substitutes, so called analogues, has recently stirred public opinion. They are products for the production of which milk constituents were partly or fully replaced with other constituents, usually with vegetable fat. Such products have their relevance in the market; however, they can be sold only under certain conditions laid down by the European regulations.

Fist of all, such foodstuff cannot be labelled as “cheese” and vegetable fats must be mentioned in the composition on the packaging. In stores, analogues must not be offered in a way that would give the impression that they are real milk products. They do not have to be sold in special cooling boxes or separate shelves; it suffices if there is a conspicuous indication that they are analogues to milk products. Cooling box in which analogues are placed together with milk products can not be called “Milk Products”, but, for example, “Alternative to Milk Products” is deemed to be sufficient.

Since the CAFIA informed through the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism all supermarket chains what the sale of cheese analogues should be like, several inspections were carried out at the beginning of this year to check whether producers and sellers comply with these requirements. CAFIA inspectors took several samples of milk products (hard and processed cheeses and also butter) that were subject to laboratory analyses to determine whether they contain undeclared vegetable fats. The analyses did not prove any such result.

However, the inspections revealed many deficiencies. Cheese alternatives were often offered in cooling boxes together with milk products from which they were not distinguished. Labels on shelves did not correspond to information on the packaging; they claimed that it was cheese while it was an analogue. All chains in which such deficiencies were identified were ordered to sell these products in line with regulations. Three of the supermarket chains have already implemented this measure. One chain asked to extend the deadline and one failed to implement the measure within the set period of time.

Administrative proceedings will be initiated against all supermarket chains.

Author: Mgr. Martina Šmídtová - CAFIA spokesperson, phone : +420-542426633