New rules will require milk to contain a higher proportion of soy and milk with added sugar.
The Department of Health and Care announced on Thursday it was “committed to supporting our milk supply through a transition towards a low-glycemic diet, and supporting dairy farmers through the transition to a new supply chain.”
The move follows years of pressure from the dairy industry to reduce milk’s sugar content.
New dairy farmers will also be able to buy the same products from suppliers that produce soy milk and will be allowed to buy milk from local suppliers, a move that is not seen as ideal by the industry.
The government is also aiming to remove restrictions on the supply of milk to children under 18 and to reduce the amount of dairy produced for animal feed, which accounts for up to one-fifth of the UK’s milk supply.
The new rules will also see the introduction of a new food label to replace the current “all milk” label.
The new label will say the milk is 100 per cent free of milk additive, and that it is “free of milk additives, colourings, flavourings or preservatives”.
New restrictions will also apply to milk in containers smaller than 1.5 litres.
This will mean milk containers no longer can contain milk with more than a 0.8 per cent milk content, or milk with a sugar content greater than 25 per cent.
The dairy industry says the new rules are vital to ensuring the UK can meet its 2020 targets for milk consumption.
However, the dairy trade group British Dairy said that the rules will “make it easier for milk producers to move milk from their own farms into other parts of the world to meet the nutritional needs of people in poorer countries”.