by SUSAN MANN
Canada’s agriculture minister says he’s pleased with the Supreme Court of Canada’s Thursday decision to reject an appeal by two cheese manufacturers challenging rules for cheese compositional standards.
“Canadian consumers will continue to have access to world-class cheese products made from ingredients of the highest quality,” says Gerry Ritz in a press release. The decision to turf the appeal upholds the federal government’s authority to set compositional standards, he states.
The Supreme Court’s website didn’t give a reason for its decision. The appeal was dismissed with costs.
The two processors, Saputo Inc. and Kraft, launched the appeal after the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed their challenge earlier this year of government amendments to the national cheese standards in the Food and Drug Regulations.
Dairy Farmers of Canada spokesperson Therese Beaulieu says by email dairy farmers have always supported the goal of protecting the integrity of Canadian cheeses so they live up to consumer expectations.
“DFC has welcomed standards that ensure consistency and integrity of all cheeses, which will serve to reinforce consumer confidence in Canadian cheeses and lead to growth in the dairy industry,” she says.
Despite processors saying cheese making in Canada would be threatened by the standards, Beaulieu says there have been several new cheeses created since the cheese standards have come into force.
Compositional standards for cheese outline basic requirements so these food products have a uniform composition and meet consumers’ expectations. The regulations list the minimum level of milk that must be used to produce various cheeses but also allow for other milk products, such as skim milk powder, whey, and milk protein concentrates.
Processors have said the regulations force them to buy more raw full fat milk to produce cheese by limiting the use of ingredients made from milk and that pushes up their production costs.
As part of the standards that came into effect Dec. 14, 2008, the government maintains a licensing system for cheese importers to facilitate the enforcement of regulations in a consistent and equitable way. The standards apply to cheese marketed in import, export or interprovincial trade. BF
Gerry Ritz carefully, and no-doubt deliberately, skirted around the real issue - the fact that Canadian cheesemakers like Saputo, and Kraft, have to pay substantially more to buy milk in Canada, than they do, just a few miles down the road, at plants in New York State.
Would Kraft, and Saputo, be complaining about compositional standards, if the price of milk wasn't being hi-jacked, for political purposes, by 12,000 Canadian dairy farmers?
Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON
Armstrong, Black Diamond(Parmalat) and Kraft want to use more industrial milk solids. These are powdered milk that they can import from industrial milk countries like Europe and New Zealand;these countries make way too much milk for their population to consume, so they can sell it internationally. These countries have perfected milk production.
The milk powders sell for cheap and can be stored for long periods, so the plants can benefit from buying large shipments. Fresh milk isnt like that.
Fresh cant be altered in case there is an issue with color or odor, and powdered milk can(using bleaching and odor/pH treating).
They already make money on cheese, they just want to make more.And with them buying plants outside of Canada, they can make use of importing and exporting to themselves at prices they set.
I would surmise from your comments that supply management is definitely NOT a good thing for processors, regardless of what the Dairy Farmers of Canada would like us to believe.
It's really too bad that Canadian farmers have decided to deliberately cut themselves, and Canadian dairy processors, out of any chance to make any money by exporting dairy products, at any price.
And I'm not too sure about how credible your claim is that processors can import, and export, to themselves - why would any processor export any dairy or poultry product which costs them too much to buy in the first place? And correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that supply management is all about prohibiting imports, or if not prohibiting them, placing such high tariffs on them, that imports are effectively prohibited.
Canadian farmers really are a goofy bunch - we cut processors out of any chance of achieving economies of scale by denying them the chance to export dairy and poultry products, we deliberately over-price dairy and poultry products at the farm gate, thereby resulting in declining total consumption for milk, and less chance for the processing, distributing, and retailer to make any sort of a decent margin, because at the prices farmers charge, consumers, especially for milk, either don't buy it at all, or switch to something else, and then we have the unmitigated gall to accuse these processors, who we have "screwed" at every turn, of making too much money.
Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON
This reply if edited helps prove that free speech and some farm press is shielding exposure of some kinds of searching for truth.
What a hell of a mess we have in agriculture and not getting any better. Human nature with out checks and balances with accountability is self defeating.
There is no chance things will get and remain better for farmers when truth is missled and shielded from farmers by some self serving farm leaders in farm organizations,what is worse is that the farm press is a part of the problem
Canadian farmers really are a goofy bunch ,you forgot Greedy
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