The Glengarry News

Dairy farmers bracing for impact

publisher Oct 5, 2018 - 8:28am

As Dairy Farmers of Ontario braces for the impact of the new Canada-Mexico-United States trade deal, the organization has posted information for consumers who are eager to continue backing the domestic industry.

Q: HOW CAN I SUPPORT CANADIAN DAIRY?

Consumers can support Canadian dairy by simply buying Canadian dairy products at the grocery store. The Canadian dairy system is designed to minimize waste and help support some of the highest milk quality standards in the world. The average dairy farm in Canada is not a factory—it’s a family business with about 75 cows. By purchasing Canadian dairy, Canadians can count on milk made by real farm families dedicated to producing milk of the highest quality.

Q: WHY SHOULD I SUPPORT CANADIAN DAIRY?

The Canadian dairy industry is the backbone of Canada’s rural economy, employs more than 220,000 Canadians, and offers continued and sustainable growth and hundreds of millions of dollars of new farm and processor investments. Canadian dairy is safe and nutritious, and Canadian dairy farmers take pride in producing high-quality 100 per cent Canadian milk, providing top-notch animal care, and committing to environmental sustainability.

Q: HOW DO I ENSURE THE DAIRY PRODUCTS I’M BUYING ARE MADE WITH CANADIAN DAIRY INGREDIENTS?

Consumers looking to purchase Canadian milk and dairy products should look for one of two 100 per cent Canadian milk logos on the packaging as shown below. Please note, not all 100 per cent Canadian dairy products have these logos on their packaging. We encourage you to contact processors directly to inquire about their products. The packaging on Canadian dairy products will usually include the processor name and location.

Q: CAN YOU PUT A RED MAPLE LEAF ON THE PACKAGES OF PRODUCTS MADE WITH CANADIAN DAIRY?

Dairy processors are responsible for food labelling. We encourage processors to identify their dairy products made with Canadian dairy. Some processors have adopted the use of Dairy Farmers of Canada’s label—a blue and white logo featuring a standing cow bearing the Canadian maple leaf—which indicates products made with Canadian dairy. Some products use a circular blue and white cow logo that states 100 per cent Canadian milk. Other packages will state made in Canada. Having simple and easy labels that identify Canadian dairy on products is an industry priority.

Q: DO CANADIAN FARMERS USE GROWTH HORMONES OR RBST?

American dairy farmers are legally allowed to use recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST, a synthetic version of a naturally occurring growth hormone. They use it to increase their herd’s milk production. rBST is banned for use in Canada, and although Health Canada has determined it does not pose a health risk to humans, it has stated it negatively affects cow health.

Q: DO UNITED STATES IMPORTED PRODUCTS HAVE TO FOLLOW CANADIAN STANDARDS?

Under the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, each country has agreed to accept the other countries’ standards.

Q: WHO CONTROLS THE PRICE OF DAIRY PRODUCTS?

Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) and dairy farmers do not set retail prices. Under Canada’s supply management system, DFO’s role is to market milk to the dairy processing industry on behalf of Ontario dairy farms. In other words, farmers sell their milk to DFO, and then DFO sells milk to processors. Prices paid by processors are based on production costs on efficient farms, and DFO has no control over retail prices, meaning it does not tell grocery stores how much to charge for a product.