Thu, Feb 14, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Survey finds most formulated soy milk labels are confusing

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Representatives of the John Tung Foundation display a range of soy milk products along with sugar cubes roughly equivalent to their grams of sugar content while announcing the results of a survey in Taipei on Tuesday.

Photo: CNA

The John Tung Foundation on Tuesday said that a survey of 105 liquid soy milk products found that 23 of 30 formulated soy milk products have confusing labels and two products did not meet the definition of formulated soy milk.

As soy milk is a good source of plant-based protein and other nutrients, many people like to drink it with breakfast or after exercising, the foundation said, adding that it conducted the survey from November to December last year.

The products surveyed had a variety of names, including soy juice, soy milk and formulated soy milk, foundation deputy chief of food nutrition Chen Hsing-ho (陳醒荷) said.

While soy juice and soy milk refer to the same product, according to the government’s Chinese National Standards, they should contain a minimum protein level of 2.6 percent, she said, adding that the standards require formulated soy milk to contain more than 50 percent soy milk and a minimum protein level of 2 percent.

The survey found that while the majority of soy milk products met the requirements, 23 of 30 formulated soy milk products examined had confusing labels that did not clearly identify the product as formulated, with some even labeled as soy juice.

Two formulated soy milk products did not even reach the required 2 percent minimum protein level, but were also labeled as soy juice, Chen said.

Although most of the soy milk products met the requirements to be labeled as such, some had high sugar levels, including a few that were labeled “mildly sweetened” (微甜), she said.

Drinking two cartons of the top three soy milk products with high sugar levels would exceed the maximum recommended daily sugar intake, she added.

The foundation urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare to ask companies to use “low sugar” (微糖) — defined as less than 2.5g of sugar per 100 milliliters — on labels instead of “mildly sweetened,” which can be misleading.

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