The Ice Cream Alliance (ICA) has launched its own national standard in a bid to prevent what it fears could be a quality meltdown.

The new ICA “approved” logo will be used on product that complies with the former legal composition standard.

The ICA said the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had abolished the former UK legal standard that specified ice cream must have a minimum 5% fat and not less than 2.5% milk protein when the UK Food Information Regulation 2013 came in last Saturday to implement the Food Information to Consumers EU 1169/2011 Regulation.

“The EU doesn’t have a legal standard for the composition of ice cream and Defra has decided to adopt this policy thereby abolishing the former UK legal standard,” said ICA chief executive Zelica Carr.

The removal of the longstanding quality specifications would allow “artificial” ice cream that could be made with meat proteins and fats to be sold, she warned.

“This EU rule change has opened the floodgates to inferior products coming onto the market purporting to be traditional ice cream.

“This poses a real threat to the quality of ice cream on sale in the UK,” Carr said.

She pointed out that the UK ice cream industry was worth more than £1bn to the economy and one of the reasons for its success was its “great” taste and “high quality” ingredients.

“Without a legal standard in place there is nothing stopping manufacturers using meat protein and meat fats instead of milk and calling it ice cream,” Carr said.

Sources pointed out that the use of any alternative protein must be labelled on the packing, in the product name or the ingredients list.

Defra dismissed the ICA’s anxieties and said the change would “strengthen the future of great British ice cream”.

A spokeswoman said that products made using just fresh double cream previously could not be called ice cream whereas those made using powdered milk could.

“Removing these old regulations means businesses making their product from real cream can now call it what it is – ice cream.”

The Defra spokeswoman added that British producers had been put on an equal footing with the rest of Europe “so they can sell their delicious products without being constrained by outdated rules”.