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Big cheesemakers take milk rules to court

Major Canadian cheesemakers Kraft Canada, Parmalat Canada and Saputo have jointly filed a court challenge of new limits on their use of modified milk.

The federal government has put regulatory amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and Canadian Agricultural Products Act in place to take effect Dec. 14.

The amendments were published last December in the Canada Gazette to give cheesemakers time to adapt to the new rules.

The three companies, who filed their application for a court challenge Monday in Federal Court, say the regulations will require cheese makers to strictly limit the use of “natural constituents” of milk, also known as modified milk, or dairy ingredients.

“The clear intent of these new regulations is additional revenue for
dairy farmers,” said Yvan Loubier, spokesperson for the three companies, in a Kraft release Monday.

“Unfortunately any gains for dairy farmers will likely be short-lived. The new regulations will hurt both cheesemakers and dairy farmers. They will increase the price of cheese to consumers, may reduce cheese consumption and threaten the viability of Canada as a cheesemaking nation.”

Canada’s dairy processing companies are the “unique market” for Canadian dairy farmers’ product, Loubier said. “The less cheese that is eaten by Canadian
consumers, the less milk that will be needed from Canadian dairy farmers.”

The companies said the government’s analysis of the impact of these regulations “clearly states” that even though the regulations will not make cheese taste better or improve its nutritional quality, the amendments will likely see Canadian consumers pay “significantly more” for the cheese they buy locally.

The companies also said in their release that they believe the new regulations will contravene Canada’s international trade obligations and agreements.

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