A dairy spat that could cost us jobs

First it’s milk, then they say it’s yogourt


A dairy spat that could cost us jobsAccording to the label, a daily serving of DanActive—a popular new drink from the makers of Activia yogourt—helps to “strengthen your body’s defences.” If that’s true, you may want to consider chugging a few bottles before finishing the rest of this article. Some readers may be sickened by the facts.

At a time when markets are melting and major manufacturers are begging Ottawa for handouts, Danone, one of the country’s leading dairy companies, has a plan that would create dozens of jobs and inject millions of dollars into the sagging economy. The problem? Bureaucrats at the Canada Border Services Agency. Instead of rolling out the red carpet, the CBSA is locked in a costly court battle that boils down to one baffling question: is DanActive a beverage or a yogourt? (Or, as the judge phrased it: “To drink or to eat, that is the question.”)

Both sides were getting along so well back in 2006. DanActive had just hit grocery store shelves in the U.S., and executives were anxious to test the Canadian market. Their plan: import the product from Ohio, sell it north of the border for four years, and if people like it, construct a new DanActive factory in Boucherville, Que. Local dairy farmers were understandably thrilled, and Danone even went so far as to share its plan with the CBSA, just to make sure the imports would not trigger any hefty tariffs. In a written ruling, the agency declared DanActive a “beverage containing milk”—a duty-free designation under NAFTA.

But for reasons that remain a mystery (Danone alleges that a competitor voiced its displeasure) the CBSA reversed its decision late last year, branding DanActive a “liquid yogourt” and slapping future imports with a whopping 237.5 per cent duty. Company lawyers are now fighting to have the original ruling restored, but if they lose, Danone says it will have no choice but to stop shipping bottles to Canada—and reconsider its expansion plans. “We’re in the middle of an economic crisis, and we’re bringing jobs into Canada,” says Brenda Swick, a lawyer for Danone. “It is nonsensical to me.”


A dairy spat that could cost us jobs

  1. Dannon is probably right on its assumption. As the owner of the last processing dairy in western Ontario the Ontario dairy farmers stopped shipping milk to my plant in favour of another company. Google bovine.wordpress and search Bernie Bailey for how the milk industy works in Canada.

  2. A pox on both their houses; the real issue is, when will Canada legalize the sale of raw milk? We surely have the ability to make raw milk safe. What we will never have is the ability to make pasteurized milk and its by-products even half as good for you.

    • To Maude
      I do not beleave what you say is true about testing I know it is. It takes less than twenty four hours to check the bacteria level in all milk fresh , pasteurized or sterilized and milk is not pasteurized to eliminate the germ carrying bacteria any more it is heated to excessive levels to gain shelf life as milk has more miles on it than beef (maybe). I met and spoke with Michael Schmidt the organic milk activist and was given the privilege of speaking at Michael Schmidt last Queens Park update as he realized that I had been through a similar situation ten years ago . I owned the last dairy in western Ontario and after thirty years of processing with out a signal recall was put out of business by corrupt civil servants in favor of globalization . My dairy was to small for the farmers to work with as I only did about sixteen million liters a year . Although Mike and I are on opposite sides of the pasteurization issue we are willing to talk together on the issue unlike the civil servants and our elected officials.
      I am still one vote

      PS to every one reading this I have never met or talked with Maude before

      • To Bernie:
        Thanks for telling your story –it just goes to prove that smaller scale farming is the better way to go, especially now that we’re beginning to accept and even champion the 100-mile diet idea.

        My own interest in raw milk is strictly as a consumer. For the first few years, I was raised in a small town where we all drank raw milk and enjoyed it with no ill effects, but later when we moved to the city, I became quite sickly and suffered frequent “bilious attacks,” as our family doctor called them. We finally discovered the culprits were licorice candy and pasteurized milk! I’ve never eaten licorice since, but over time I was able to drink pasteurized milk and eat ice cream, etc., without getting sick anymore.

        This stage lasted for about 40 years but then I became allergic to pasteurized milk again. Now it causes sores in the mouth after consuming only small amounts and then deafness from the mucous which accumulates in the ears. If I ignore these symptoms and try using mind over matter, the bloating and stomach upset move in.

        But about 5 years ago, I had the opportunity to taste raw milk again while on a farm in a third world country, and was shocked at how terrific it made me feel. (I’m already a pretty healthy person but “terrific” was something new.) When I managed to communicate this to the farmer’s wife, she offered me a full glass of milk, which I drank down. At this point, my whole body felt as if it had been waiting all those years for the chance to drink raw milk again, which it probably had been.

        But now I’m back in the land of middlemen, agribusiness and invasive technology. I’ve even tried to buy a share in a cow but so far, no one has been willing to risk selling it to me. It’s all so stupid and maddening and I wish the experts who tout the superiority of raw milk could get a break from the media. It could happen, if enough consumers had the chance to taste raw milk and discover we’re all being had. Or if a reputable researcher does a study on deafness in later life and discovers it’s suspiciously more common among people who drink pasteurized milk and eat butter, cheese, and ice cream.

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