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Top Court Closes Book On Milk Minimums In Cheese

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The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by two dairy-processing giants to overturn minimum standards for milk content in cheese sold in Canada.

The Nov. 24 ruling closes the book on efforts by cheese manufacturers to change the ration of whey protein to casein ratio, which would allow them to use more whey cream or milk powder in their processes.

The cheese makers had gone in February to the appellant court aiming to overturn nationwide compositional standards for cheese that had come into effect in late 2008. The standards apply to cheese marketed in import, export or interprovincial trade.

The regulations in question require that cheese imported into Canada or made in Canada and marketed in international or interprovincial trade to meet a minimum casein ratio and whey ratio.

Cheeses, under Canada s standards, also must have a whey-protein- to-casein ratio no greater than the ratio of whey-protein-to-casein ratio of milk itself.

The federal amendments were first published in December 2007 and the new rules took effect in late 2008.

Saputo and Kraft had claimed in February that the main purpose of the cheese regulations has been to effect an economic transfer in favour of dairy producers to the detriment of dairy processors.

The companies previously claimed the new rules would increase their costs and raise the price of cheese to consumers, and predicted a $185-million annual boon to dairy producers from higher milk sales.

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