Cheesemakers of Quebec sound the alarm

The cheeseApproximately 450 000 liters of milk surplus materials were thrown this week in Quebec, while the food industry imports more and more American dairy proteins. Cheesemakers denounce this paradox.

PROTEIN IMBALANCE WHEN AN INDUSTRY

The elimination of hundreds of thousands of liters of milk, in the last days, brings cheesemakers to denounce a protein came from the United States.

“We must quickly implement a new strategy for dairy products in Canada,” said Luc Boivin. According to the CEO of Fromagerie Boivin, La Baie Saguenay, it is high time that we brakes importing South proteins of the border, which has soared since five years by a clever trick -past of American industrialists.

In Canada, manufacturers of dairy products, large and small, can use dairy protein powder in their cheeses and other products. The amounts they are limited and may include established according to federal standards that are not unanimity among Canada’s trading partners.

The phenomenon is not new. These products are found elsewhere in the list of ingredients under the term “modified milk ingredients”. Now, the US dairy suppliers have developed a concentrated liquid protein. This product can cross the border freely, like other modified milk ingredients rich in protein. However, it is a liquid product. The cheese can therefore use it without limits or indicate on their packaging, because it is, after all, milk. Only the blue cow, which indicates the use of Canadian Milk on a food disappears from the packaging.

EXCEPTIONAL CONTEXT

Processors who use this “milk” extra high protein then need fat in their recipe, which has boosted demand for the fat part of the Quebec milk, explains Luc Boivin. With this increase, add an increase for producing cream and butter products regain popularity in the Canadian diet. The imbalance is complete.

The Quebec Federation of Milk Producers therefore had to throw this week the lean part of the milk that is not used by manufacturers cream, butter or cheese and which could not be dried into a powder for animal feed. A second surplus cargo into the pit is not excluded, confirmed the spokesperson of the Federation François Dumontier. “We work hard to ensure that does not happen,” he said, adding that the situation is exceptional.

Ontario farmers are facing the same situation: 800 000 L of skim milk were dumped last month.

“Everyone is overwhelmed. I do not believe that one is made to throw milk. This is an absurd situation, “said Michel Potvin, dairy producer Chicoutimi.

Inevitably, this imbalance in the demand for the fatty part and the lean part of the Quebec milk led to a decrease in income on the farm. When he sells the lean part of its milk to make animal feed, especially for calves, the producer receives about 20% of the price it would have if the milk had been sold to the food industry, says Michel Potvin . And if some of the milk is found in the pit, he receives nothing at all. “Producers were willing to endure a little imbalance, explains the farmer, but now it faces a wall. ”

“The Canadian dairy industry is stuck. He knows a growing trade deficit, “said David McInnes, President of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute. The importation from the USA of these proteins is up 300% since 2010, the Institute calculates. “The supply management system in Canada has the effect of maintaining the price of dairy products higher than world market prices, said David McInnes. The cheaper imported products therefore popular among food processors. ”

CONSUMERS IN IGNORANCE
If some major Quebec processors use much liquid protein concentrate from the United States, cheesemakers refuse to do for now. Rather, they are asking Ottawa to review the rules.

“It would have the use of American protein percentage to be calculated in the permits modified milk ingredients,” says Denis Brassard, CEO of Fromagerie Perron in Saint-Prime. According to him, many consumers would be surprised to know the recipe of cheeses they buy. And if they knew, some probably decide to buy something else, he said, because you can now make cheese without milk …!

“We buy fair trade coffee because we want to ensure it produces the best possible way at the other end of the world but we buy foreign dairy products without knowing all there is behind. We face a legal competition, but unfair, “said Denis Brassard, CEO of Fromagerie Perron.

Denis Brassard Luc Boivin and are part of a group of processors who wants to renegotiate the agreements with the dairy farmers. The sector is facing new realities, they say, as the import of these liquid protein. Possible solutions: reduce the price of certain milk classes, which would allow Quebec processors also make the protein powder with the lean part of the milk they do not use, and export at prices competitive.

The first meeting between the cheese and the milk producers is expected next month.

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