IDFA Responds to Canada's Plans to Limit MPCs, Alter Cheese Standards
"The U.S. dairy processing industry is extremely concerned about steps the government of Canada is taking to raise tariffs on imported milk proteins and to modify its compositional standards related to cheese," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO in a letter sent last week
to Canada's ministers of agriculture and international trade. Tipton sent the letter in response to the Canadian government's new plan to appease its dairy industry by limiting the growing use of milk protein concentrates (MPCs) in cheese and other dairy products.
Earlier this year, Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Chuck Strahl announced that the country intended to renegotiate its World Trade Organization commitments to establish new tariff rate quotas on MPCs. In a related move, the minister asked the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to launch a regulatory review of current cheese standards "to provide clarification on the ingredients that may be used for the manufacture of cheese."
On May 1, the agency released its official Notification of Revisions to Federal Regulations for Cheese, which included a list of recommendations for public review and comment. In general, the recommendations set higher minimum percentages of proteins derived from raw milk and lowered the amount of milk protein concentrates that would be allowed for various cheeses. For mozzarella cheese, for example, the recommended ratio of milk to MPCs would be 83% to 17%. To see other recommended percentages, click here.
"We believe that Canada's intent with these initiatives is to further limit trade in certain dairy products and change the competitive environment of the Canadian dairy industry," the letter states. "IDFA feels that these new actions will not only harm U.S. dairy processors and exporters but also the growth of Canadian dairy product manufacturing."
In the letter, Tipton also questions whether Canada would be violating its international trade obligations with the initiatives. IDFA plans to work with appropriate U.S. government representatives to actively oppose these trade restrictions.
For more information, contact Helen Medina, IDFA manager of international affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-220-3507.
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Posted May 29, 2007