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News – for Mar. 14, 2011

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Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has rejected a legal volley from cheese-making giants Kraft Canada and Saputo against federal regulators’ compositional standards for cheese.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency claimed the win for official Ottawa as per a ruling by Justice Robert Mainville, who dismissed Kraft and Saputo’s joint appeal and awarded costs to the government.

“We are pleased that the Federal Court of Appeal has upheld the authority of the federal government to set compositional standards,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in CFIA’s release. “Canadians expect cheese to be made of real milk and this decision will ensure it is.”

As of last Monday neither Kraft nor Saputo have yet made any official statement on the ruling.

The cheese makers’ appeal last month sought to overturn nationwide compositional standards for cheese that came into effect in mid- December 2008 and apply to cheese marketed in import, export or interprovincial trade.

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

A coalition of Kraft, Saputo and (at the time) Parmalat Canada had long argued that the new rules would increase their costs and raise the price of cheese to consumers, in what they said would at first be a $185-million annual boon to dairy producers from higher milk sales.

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