8 February 2000
BBC sorry for milk mistake

By FWi staff

THE BBC has apologised to the dairy industry after one of its magazines incorrectly gave figures for the fat content in milk products which were many times actual levels.

The January issue of BBC Good Food magazine ran an article on how to reduce fat in dishes, and included a table listing fat levels in popular foods

Readers were encouraged to cut out the guide and stick it on their refrigerators.

According to this, whole milk has a fat content of 53%, semi-skimmed milk contains 31% and skimmed milk 3%.

In fact the fat content of whole milk is 4%, semi-skimmed milk contains 1.6% and skimmed milk is virtually fat-free.

The table, which chefs and cooks up and down the country may now be referring to, also gives incorrect figures for a range of other diary products, including butter, cream and fromage frais.

The National Dairy Council, which represents dairy farmers and processors, wrote to the BBC pointing out the inaccuracy.

A BBC spokesman said the figures should have referred to the percentage of energy from fat, a measurement recommended by the British Nutritional Foundation, and not simply fat itself.

He added: “Unfortunately, this was not explained correctly, and this led to some confusion for which we apologise.”

In a letter to Farmers Weekly NDC marketing manager Andrew Ovens says he was “horrified” by the “inappropriate and ridiculous figures”.

He added: “This sort of misconception and negative publicity tarnishing the good image of milk is all too common.”

He said generic marketing was the key to presenting positive facts about milks comparatively low fat content and relevance to todays consumers.

A NDC spokeswoman said: “This sort of thing just reinforces prejudice as lots of people do think theres lots of fat in whole milk.

“In fact if we could brand it, milk could be sold as a low-fat product.”

The NDC has been advised that BBC Good Food is printing an amendment in its March edition.