Brussels is after cheeses again, it seems.
A Breton cheese maker friend of mine has pointed out to me an article in the Télégramme newspaper of March 2nd drawing readers' attention to the fact that cheeses (and other milk products) are no longer able to draw attention on their packaging to their high level of calcium and vitamins. Because we forget that they do not draw attention at the same time to their high content of fatty matter. In other words they are too rich in saturated fatty acids.
To put the claim "rich in calcium" on a piece of emmental weighing only 30g when it hardly contains more than 325 mg of this component (or about 1% of its weight if I'm not mistaken) is something which has always astonished me. Especially as they have forgotten to add that this same chunk of emmental contains:
- 11g of water
- 8.8g of protein (casein)
- 8.6g of lipids
… and therefore 5.2g of saturated fatty acids and 2.7 of unsaturated fatty acids
… and no sugar, or traces, as the lactose get into the whey at the time the curds are removed
And for all that, one cannot print the claim "no sugar" big and bold on a portion of emmental, in the same way that certain brands of lollipops print "0% of fatty matter" on their products (containing 100% sugar!)
So I hope you understand that I'm not against the principle of not allowing this type of selective claim. It's more a question that I would be much more concerned to see cheese classified among products bad for your health.
1) So don't less stigmatize animal fatty matter! Saturated fatty acids in milk do not seem as bad as all that (as borne out by certain studies – like those by the INRA national institute – Transfact – see my note of February 2008)
2) It's difficult to have your dose of calcium if you don't eat milk products (see another note of mine from Feb 2008)
In short we mustn't forget, like for everything, good or bad is all a question of "how much" and being sure to eat everything in reasonable quantities.
And the fact that we are not all built the same way…