by SUSAN MANN
Dairy farmers are happy the federal Appeal Court dismissed an appeal by two major cheese processors challenging the legality of Canada’s national cheese compositional standards.
Therese Beaulieu, spokesperson for Dairy Farmers of Canada, says “we were always of the view that the government had a role to play in establishing standards like a lot of other countries do.”
DFC didn’t participate in the court cases. But it has always agreed with the standards that were established by the government.
In a prepared statement, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the government was pleased the Federal Appeal Court upheld its authority to set compositional standards. “Canadians expect cheese to made of real milk and this decision will ensure it is.”
The standards became effective in December 2008. They limit processors’ use of milk solids and set a minimum level of milk that has to be used to produce various cheeses.
Beaulieu says before the government brought in the standards, DFC told them there was a lot of variety and quality in how products were made and consumers were annoyed and questioned why their cheese didn’t always seem to act the same each time they bought it.
In this most recent court case, the two processors, Saputo and Kraft, appealed the dismissal of an earlier legal challenge to amendments for cheese standards made to the Food and Drug Regulations. They filed the initial legal challenge with another processor, Parmalat. But Parmalat didn’t participate in the appeal. In October 2009, Judge Luc Martineau dismissed the processors’ claim and concluded that compositional standards for cheese are constitutionally and legally valid.
The latest decision was handed down Feb. 28 in Ottawa. In it the appeal judges said Judge Martineau “committed no reviewable error in his findings” and they dismissed Saputo and Kraft’s appeal.
Neither Saputo nor Kraft spokespeople could be reached for comment. BF