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Coffee machine milk 'like washing powder'

Coffee machine milk 'like washing powder'

Published: 21 Jul 2008 14:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Jul 2008 14:54 GMT+02:00

Although it is the word "milk" that is the one written on the button of coffee vending- machines, the liquid that trickles into your coffee is far from it, claimed The Stockholm Consumer Cooperative Society (KfS) on Monday.

"It is pretty much the same sludge that Björn Gillberg washed his clothes with in the 1970s," said Louise Ungerth at the society referring to the environmental debateur who caused an uproar in the 1970s when he washed his shirts in an artificial creamer on live television.

Gillberg's gimmick led to the withdrawal of many coffee-creamer products from retail outlets.

In a new study looking at the incidence of false marketing in food products in Sweden, the society has discovered that the creamers have made a comeback at a vending-machine near you.

The society found that the "milk" dispensed in Selecta's vending-machines is in fact a cream replacement, so-called whitener, and bears no relation to milk in its accepted form.

"I was very surprised when I rang Selecta, the market leader, and found out about the sugar solution and hardened fat that I have poured into my coffee four or five times a day at work over the years. It says milk on the button," Ungerth said.

"There are many of us that have been fooled", said Ungerth, who urged consumers to contact their suppliers.

Many suppliers of coffee and whitening products to vending-machines use milk powder while Selecta and others used the creamer-replacements if customers do not request anything else, according to a survey by the consumer society.

The National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) says that EU directives are clear on the issue.

"The marking and presentation of food products must not mislead anyone. The law clearly specifies how the word "milk" can used. Milk should be milk...from milk-producing cows."

Selecta however placed the reponsibility on its customers to decide the contents of their vending-machines.

"The word milk is generic. It is then up to each workplace to choose their gourmet topping," said Helene Frankenberg of Selecta to Aftonbladet.

The Stockholm Consumer Cooperative Society decided on Monday to report Selecta to the National Food Administration for false and misleading marketing.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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