Agropur stops importing diafiltered milk

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Agropur is no longer importing diafiltered milk, which circumvents Canadian import tariffs.
Agropur is no longer importing diafiltered milk, which circumvents Canadian import tariffs.

Related tags Milk International trade

Following the establishment of an interim national program to encourage the use of Canadian milk in cheese manufacturing, Agropur Cooperative has announced that it is immediately discontinuing the use of imported diafiltered milk, becoming the first major national processor to do so.

The interim national program supports access to Canadian ingredients at competitive prices, effective May 1, for a three-month period.

Serge Riendeau, president of Agropur, said, "While the interim national program is temporary, its creation is good news since it makes it possible for us to stop using imported diafiltered milk while remaining competitive and supporting our members and all Canadian milk producers. We had pledged to stop importing diafiltered milk as soon as conditions allowed. Today, as a result of this program, we are in a position to do so."

Temporary fix

The national program applies from May 1 through July 31, 2016, and Agropur says the Canadian government must act quickly to enforce the Canadian cheese standards established in 2008, as it promised to do during the election campaign.

The interim move comes a week after dairy farmers blocked access to a Parmalat plant in Montreal in protest over the import of US diafiltered milk. 

While milk from outside Canada has a tariff imposed upon it, diafiltered milk was not subject to the duties.

In the US, especially in border states, there are concerns over the move and how it will affect dairy farmers there, as many US farmers export diafiltered milk to Canada.

The program

The interim national program was established by the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (CMSMC), which includes representatives of the marketing boards and governments of all the provinces. The CMSMC is chaired by the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC). 

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