Use of milk protein imports in cheese production on the rise

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An article, "It's time for Canada to move on from the myopia of marketing boards" by Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the faculty of management and professor in agriculture at Dalhousie University, in yesterday's Globe and Mail, laid bare the essential futility of whatever "desperate measures" the Canadian dairy industry might adopt in an attempt to save supply management.

The essential problem, according to Charlebois, is that consumers want more butterfat and less milk, but farmers remain set in their ways of wanting consumers to bend to the dairy farmer way of doing things.

Adding to that are the statements by Charlebois that:

(A) the use of marketing boards "has led to a deeply myopic view of agricultural markets"
(B) "several (supply managed) commodity sectors are experiencing nothing less than an existential crisis"
(C) "many (marketing boards) have passed their expiry dates"

Or, in other words, everything about what the Canadian dairy industry wants government to do is based more on fear than on reason.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Thanks to Ian Cumming for exposing, in this week's Ontario Farmer, the essential double-standard of the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) position when it comes to the importing of diafiltered milk.

According to Cumming, DFC's position is that ultrafiltered milk is OK to use in cheese, but double-ultrafiltered (diafiltered) milk is not.

Therefore, to any layperson, the DFC's argument is exactly the same thing, and just as absurd as claiming that pasteurizing milk once is OK, but pasteurizing it twice is not.

DFC's position once again validates the truism that whenever a rent-seeking entity (anybody with a vested interest to defend) claims it's about good science, it's really all about the money.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Diafiltered milk was created to circumvent import rules and Canada’s cheese compositional standards, which were established in 2007 by the federal government. The proof is that this product is not used to produce cheese in the United States.
At the border, diafiltered milk is considered an ingredient by the Canadian Border Services Agency but once in Canada it is considered milk by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This inconsistency must be corrected.

According to a non-current article by Ian Cumming, ultrafiltered milk was not developed to circumvent import rules, but was developed by Eurpean dairy processors to compensate for the lowered fat content of milk when cattle went out on pasture.

A light ultrafiltering of milk by European processors raised it to 4.2% butterfat and sparked the interest of Canadian dairy processors.

The above poster conveniently ignores that in 2007, Canadian dairy farmers blundered into believing then ag Minister, Chuck Strahl, when he claimed that the European product (the only place where milk protein concentrates were being produced at the time) wouldn't be allowed into Canada because of Article 28 of GATT, but Canadian processors simply made an end run around the "country of origin" provision of GATT by building and buying ingredient factories in the US to use cheaper US milk, and where NAFTA denied the imposition of a tariff by Canada on new products not already listed.

In addition, the claim by the above poster that diafiltered milk is not used to produce cheese in the US conveniently and disingenuously ignores that ultrafiltered milk (any difference between the two seems to be visible only to people who own dairy quota) appears to have been long-since used to produce cheese in Europe.

The only inconsistency is that Canadian dairy farmers seem to want to preserve their quota values by forcing Canadian dairy processors to buy high-priced Canadian milk to produce cheese of lesser quality and taste than what can be made with cheaper product from the US.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON
(519) 482 - 3244

The only relevant point is, once again, that compositional standards are a propagandist fallacy trotted out by supply management supporters to disguise the fact that it really is all about money and the preservation of quota values.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The way Canadian dairy farmers tell the story, imported diafiltered milk lowers the standards of, and/or taste of, Canadian cheese.

However, Ian Cumming reported in the Ontario Farmer a few years ago that the research department at least one Canadian dairy processor:

..... "demonstrated how the liquid version of milk protein concentrates resulted in a far superior tasting cheese equal to (that) being manufactured with real milk. Not having that plastic taste and texture to it that had been the result of using the solid concentrates".

Therefore, it would appear that the "compositional standards" argument proffered by Canadian dairy farmers in opposition to the imports of diafiltered milk is, as it is with every argument trotted out to prop-up supply management, completely without merit.

On the other hand, and to use business terminology, when Canadian dairy processors import diafiltered milk from the US to make cheese, they are getting a premium product at a discount price - Canadian dairy farmers can, and should, Google the term "Maginot Line" to understand that they have been completely-outflanked, out-gunned and cut off at the knees.

And when it comes to the dairy farmer demands that government actually do something to stop the ability of dairy processors to import premium products at discount prices, Ian Cumming will remind anyone that former federal Ag Minister, Chuck Strahl, promised in early 2007 to stop the then newly-invented milk protein concentrates "at the border" and then promptly (and correctly) did nothing.

What, therefore, has happened in the last nine years when it comes to imports of milk proteins? - NOTHING!, and that would be a very-good thing for everyone in Canada who doesn't own dairy quota.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So a US cheese lover would question why producers are shipping that premium product north and not using it in there own cheese making?

Does not make a lot of sence does it ? But l'm sure the writers sources are impeccable!

In this video, is is stated that this sharing of wealth is only possible in America, and when it comes to comparing dairy systems of US and Canada-he's right.
Another takeaway is the myth that publicly traded corporations are evil.
They're not.

google 'nbcnewschobani ceo giving employees an ownership stake in yogurt empire'
(sorry couldn't get the link to paste)

Raube Beuerman

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