Belgian mayo gets less greasy

The legal requirement for Belgian mayonnaise to include 80% fat is being relaxed. In future 70% will suffice. In addition the minimum amount of egg yolk included is set to fall from 7.5% to 5%.

Abroad 70% fat is the norm. Belgian consumer affairs minister Kris Peeters says that the new Mayonnaise Law will trash the competitive disadvantage that Belgian mayo producers suffered in the past.

The new law should enable Belgian producers to compete more readily with foreign producers who were able to manufacture mayonnaise more cheaply with less fat and less egg yolk. The new law will not mean an end to Belgium's traditional mayonnaise with its specifically Belgian taste, the result of higher fat and egg yolk levels. A new legal term 'traditional mayonnaise' is being introduced and can only be used by manufacturers who stick to the old standards.

Belgium's new mayonnaise law heralds the start of a big makeover of Belgian food laws. Together with the industry the consumer affairs minister has identified 45 food laws that are over 30 years old and may have to be updated.

Belgian eating habits have changed over the years and some products were unknown to the Belgian palate. The ciabatta was not included in Belgian bakeries' legislation dating from 1985.

Kris Peeters: "The Belgian food sector belongs to the world top. Our food legislation should be so too. We should allow the 90,000 people working in the food industry to do so in the best possible conditions. Efforts are also underway to reduce sugar and fat levels for health reasons. We hope to contribute to this process too."