Dairy companies believe the European Food Safety Authority will tell Brussels to exclude milk-based products from any nutrient profiling system underpinning the European Health Claims Regulation - or suggest different models for different product categories.

EFSA had been expected to report its recommendations for the key principles of a model to the European Commission at the end of this month - although this deadline is understood to have slipped. The model developed from them will determine which products can carry health claims.

Any product high in either salt, sugar or fat will have to display this fact on-pack at least as prominently as any health claim being made for the food. However, any product considered high in two or more of these nutrients will not be able to make any health claims at all.

The Commission asked EFSA to advise it on developing a model that could establish whether products were high in these nutrients.

Dairy leaders say they understand EFSA is keen not to demonise products high in fat, salt and sugar that also contain positive nutrients.

This week, Dairy UK technical director Ed Komorowski said he believed lobbying by the European Dairy Association had paid off. "There seems to be a certain understanding at EFSA that dairy is a significant contributor of positive nutrients to the diet. The ideal for us would be an exemption for dairy products from nutrient profiling, which the regulation allows for. But if not we would like to see different models for different categories to recognise the positive nutrients offered by some product types."