Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Country 'fails to make the most of high quality dairy'

TESTING: (from left) National Dairy Council CEO Helen Brophy, Associate Professor of public health at UCD Professor Patrick Wall, and FSAI's chief specialist in public health nutrition Dr Mary Flynn
test out the goods on offer at the NDC conference, which took place in Dublin.
TESTING: (from left) National Dairy Council CEO Helen Brophy, Associate Professor of public health at UCD Professor Patrick Wall, and FSAI's chief specialist in public health nutrition Dr Mary Flynn test out the goods on offer at the NDC conference, which took place in Dublin.

Majella O’Sullivan

IRELAND has failed to capitalise on the quality of its dairy products and to market the imagery of the family farm, a leading expert on public health has claimed.

UCD's associate professor of public health, Paddy Wall, said Irish dairy products needed to be differentiated on a global level.

"All milk is not equal and it does not have the same nutritional profile," Prof Wall said.

"The family farm setup cannot be compared with the intensive system they have abroad.

"We have the imagery and yet we don't market it."

Prof Wall told the National Dairy Council's annual conference that the dairy industry should also be tapping into a growing market, our ageing population.

He said that sarcopenia, a condition common in elderly people where they lose muscle mass and become frail, was emerging as a public health problem.

Prof Wall advocated that whey protein, commonly consumed by rugby players and body-builders, should be part of the regular diet of the elderly.

"Its unique ability to be digested rapidly makes it ideal to reduce the rate of weight loss in the elderly, slow down the ageing process and keep senior citizens mobile and active for longer with all the associated health benefits," he said.

The number of people in Ireland aged 65 and over is projected to rise from about 700,000 to 1.89million by 2041, an increase of 169pc.

Dr Mary Flynn of the Food Safety Authority told the conference that new EU regulations governing health claims made on food created opportunities for the dairy industry.

She said six health claims relating to the benefits of consuming dairy products can now be used on dairy products.

Although the final list has not been completed, she said it was likely to be good news for the industry.

Irish Independent