Top Stories

WTO rules against U.S. COOL
law; dairy may face retaliation

May 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — The World Trade Organization (WTO) this week issued a final ruling against the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule, saying it violates U.S. international trade obligations.

In late October, WTO issued a compliance panel report that found the revised U.S. COOL rule violates U.S. international trade obligations. The COOL rule requires most retailers to provide country of origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, meat and poultry.

Canada and Mexico had challenged the rule with the WTO, claiming the rule has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market.

The United States appealed WTO’s ruling against its COOL regulation for meat Nov. 28, and a final WTO ruling was issued Monday.

Under the WTO ruling announced this week, Canada and Mexico are entitled to retaliate against U.S. exports, and that could include higher tariffs on dairy products, says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Following the WTO announcement, Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister of International Trade; Gerry Ritz, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy; and Enrique Martinez y Martinez, Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, together issued a statement saying in light of WTO’s decision, their governments will be seeking authorization from WTO to take retaliatory measures against U.S. exports.

“We call on the United States to repeal COOL legislation and comply with international obligations,” the officials say. “The Canadian and Mexican governments will continue to work closely to resolve these important trade issue with the United States in order to protect our farmers and ranchers and maintain jobs and economic prosperity throughout North America.”

Mulhern notes that Mexico retaliated against U.S. dairy products in a past North American Free Trade Agreement finding against the United States.

“America’s dairy farmers should not suffer collateral damage as a consequence of our COOL policy,” he says. “The U.S. government needs to rectify this situation before we lose any export customers.”

Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), adds that Mexico is the United States’ largest export market, and Canada also is a significant destination for U.S. dairy products.

“At a time of softer global dairy demand, we need to be focused on ensuring we keep exports moving and doing all we can to avoid new roadblocks from being put in our exporters’ paths,” Suber says.

NMPF and USDEC note WTO will finalize by the end of the month the recent decision faulting U.S. COOL requirements, after which Canada and Mexico can formally request permission to retaliate against the United States. Retaliation will be determined by how much the two countries can raise tariffs to address their losses under the U.S. meat labeling requirement, which was first challenged by Canada and Mexico in 2009. A panel will have 60 days to review the tariff amount, although the United States, Canada and Mexico could discuss a settlement before the 60-day clock runs out. The United States could see retaliatory tariffs by late summer or fall.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) notes that Canada already has issued a preliminary retaliation list targeting a broad spectrum of commodities and manufactured products, including dairy, which would affect every state in the country.

NMPF, IDFA and USDEC have joined with business leaders from all sectors of the U.S. economy in urging immediate congressional intervention to bring the United States into compliance with COOL. In a letter sent to the U.S. Senate last week, the Coalition for COOL Reform urged senators to prepare to act quickly on legislation.

“We need Congress to act immediately to ensure U.S. compliance with its WTO obligations,” says Beth Hughes, director of international affairs, IDFA. “That’s the only way to mitigate the ruling’s negative impact on the U.S. manufacturing and agricultural economies and to save thousands of American jobs.”

The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved a bipartisan bill to repeal COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken. A group of 68 Democrats and Republicans joined House Ag Committee Chair K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, in introducing the bill that would effectively repeal COOL requirements for the three aforementioned items while leaving intact the requirements for all other covered commodities.

“This bill is a targeted response that will remove uncertainty and restore stability for the United States by bringing us back into compliance,” Conaway says. “We must do all we can to avoid retaliation by Canada and Mexico, and this bill accomplishes that through full repeal of labeling requirements for beef, pork and chicken. We will continue working to get this to the House floor as quickly as possible to ensure our economy and a vast range of U.S. industries and the men and women who work for them do not suffer any economic implications of retaliation.”

NMPF, IDFA and USDEC are among a long list of food and agriculture organizations that support the bill.

Mulhern notes NMPF also will be educating both House and Senate members to make sure they understand that dairy likely will be hurt if steps are not taken to bring the United States into compliance with the WTO rules.

“With U.S. farmers relying more and more on exports for income, we cannot allow the country of origin labeling issue to interfere with increased dairy trade in the hemisphere,” Mulhern says.

In the Senate, Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts, R-Kan., this week said that USDA’s attempts to fix COOL for meat in the past were not enough, and the country now knows that those changes continue to be problematic in the eyes of WTO.

“If Congress doesn’t act swiftly, retaliation will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy,” he says. “I am working with my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to develop a solution. We’ll do whatever it takes to protect the livelihood of American farmers, ranchers and industries that will be targeted by retaliation.”

However, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee, says consumers have a right to know where their food comes from, and she supports COOL.

“I am closely reviewing the WTO decision. If adjustments are needed, we should find a bipartisan path forward that both protects the interests of consumers and encourages international trade,” she says.

In addition, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson this week called the House bill to repeal the COOL rule “premature and reactionary,” noting that there remains ample opportunity for the administration, Mexico and Canada to negotiate an acceptable path forward.

“The best thing Congress could do is to step aside while the WTO process continues,” Johnson says. “As has happened with past disputes, WTO members can work together to find a solution that will work for them.

“Unfortunately, opponents of consumer labeling laws have jumped on the opportunity to repeal COOL, when instead they should be spending their time and energy focusing on giving consumers information they want, which is a label with the origin of their food,” he adds. “We need thoughtful leadership, not reactionary legislation.”


Key to Listeria control is in
keeping clean environment

May 22, 2015

By Rena Archwamety

MADISON, Wis. — Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, such as the recent multi-state Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that prompted Blue Bell Ice Cream to recall all of its products last month, underscore the importance of robust food safety procedures and maintaining a clean processing environment.

“You hate to see any black eye on the dairy industry, so when you see something like this come out, you wonder what happened,” says Marianne Smukowski, outreach program manager for the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR), who helps train dairy manufacturers in food safety plans and procedures. “I think it hit hard with big dairy plants, thinking that ‘this could be me.’ They’ll look over their programs and see if there’s anything they can do to improve. It’s unfortunate, but it does send a wake-up call to plants.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1,600 people in the United States get sick from Listeria germs each year. Those especially susceptible to Listeria are pregnant women and their newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems. Most people found to have Listeria infection require hospital care, and about one in five people with the infection die.

CDC notes that Listeria is a hardy germ that can grow even on foods that are refrigerated. It can contaminate many foods that typically aren’t cooked, such as cheeses and deli meats. Soft cheeses and raw milk are listed by CDC among the “more risky” foods where Listeria has been known to hide.

• Trained in safety

Smukowski says when advising cheese companies on food safety, she keys in on good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and stresses that all employees be trained on GMPs on an annual basis.

“Are they wearing hairnets properly? Conducting training in hygienic processes? The big thing is to make sure everyone understands that they are all trying to make very safe and wholesome products, and make sure employees understand they are part of that process,” she says.

The dairy industry as a whole does a very good job when it comes to food safety, Smukowski says, and the volume of products produced is large compared to only a small number of problems that occur. And while it hasn’t yet been mandated by the government for the dairy industry, food safety plans often are required by customers that dairy plants serve.

“They need to concentrate on making sure there is good training and documentation, and it’s always good to have a third party come in and make sure you’re doing what you say you’re doing,” Smukowski suggests. “‘Did you think about this,’ or ‘Do this instead.’ Especially for small- and medium-sized plants, it’s always good for another pair of eyes to come into the plant.”

Debra Cherney, CEO and founder of Cherney Microbiological Services, Green Bay, Wisconsin, says she believes the proposed rule for preventive controls under FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) — which would require food facilities to implement a written preventive controls plan — will be instrumental in mitigating contamination problems.

“Preventive controls, by their design, should lessen the risk of these types of occurrences across the board,” Cherney says. “You have to be proactive with food safety. You need to put programs in place, monitor these programs and evaluate the programs. You need a fresh look on a regular basis. Are they doing their job? If not, why not? If organisms are there, you need to locate and eradicate them.”

• Clean environment

Listeria thrives in a wet environment, so part of preventing Listeria contamination, especially in dairy plants, is having a strong environmental monitoring program, as well as maintaining an environment that is cleaned thoroughly and regularly.

“An environmental monitoring program is very helpful to have in place,” Smukowski says, adding that such programs will cover various zones and take more swabs to test depending on how close that zone is to the product.

“Another big thing to keep in mind is traffic patterns,” Smukowski says. “Where do employees come in when they clock in? Do you have a break room or special area where they can change clothes? Do they have dedicated footwear in the plant? You’re trying to prevent things from coming into the plant.”

Among the proactive steps a plant can take to prevent Listeria is to eliminate as many places as possible that tend to be “hot spots” for bacteria growth, such as seams, corners and cracks in production rooms.

Fixxus Rehabilitation Systems Inc., based in North Carolina, works with food production plants to install specialized surfaces that help reduce these hot spots for bacteria. Using a combination of quick-drying polyurea products formulated by VersaFlex Inc., Fixxus sprays on a thick base coat that eliminates the corners, cracks and seams, and then applies a shiny topcoat that serves as a protective layer.

This creates a durable finish that cleans very easily, says Doug Commette, director of marketing, VersaFlex.

“A lot of places use pretty tough cleaning detergents and chemicals that can eat away at surfaces,” he says. “Many times, this will last three- to five-times longer than what they are using now.”

Danny Cook, CEO of Fixxus, says the process involves a crew covering everything with plastic and taping up every piece of pipe and machinery. Then they spray polyurea layers, filling in cracks and creating rounded transitions where angles between floors, walls and ceilings used to be.

“The surfaces have a minimal ability for anything, from Listeria to pests, mold and mildew, to perch and thrive,” Cook says. “We literally reshape the walls and ceilings. There are no cracks or areas where water can stand. When they do wash it down, water isn’t sitting for something to grow in.”

• Ongoing maintenance

In addition to making sure employees are following good manufacturing practices, Smukowski says preventive maintenance is important, such as changing filters regularly to maintain a clean airflow.

“Are you changing them out in a timely manner? I think that’s key,” she says. “Also, some plants have windows or door openings. Do they have screens on those? If it’s 85 degrees outside and hot and muggy, do you open the doors? There are little things you always have to think about.”

Florida-based RGF Environmental notes that many contaminants found in milk products can be eliminated through a combination of effective plant cleaning and sanitation procedures, along with plant air-purification systems. Industry studies have shown that airborne pathogenic contamination of food products at the processing level is a safety concern, and in some cases is the major cause of microbiological contamination.

“Odors, air pollutants, VOCs, smoke, mold, bacteria and viruses are all plant air issues,” says James Mardsen, scientist and professor of food safety and security at Kansas State University. “HVAC safety and purification systems as well as systems for plant areas with no air ducts are critical components for a processor’s overall food safety program.”

Bill Svec, RGF vice president of water and food products, says the company’s Commercial PHI Unit can be mounted directly into a plant’s air conditioning and heating system.

“When the HVAC system is in operation, the Commercial PHI Unite creates an advanced oxidation process consisting of hydro-peroxides, ozonide ions, super oxide ions and hydroxide ions,” Svec says. “All are friendly oxidizers that revert back to oxygen and hydrogen after the oxidation of the pollutant.”

If there are no air ducts, RGF will recommend the installation of wall mount air purification units.

• Utilizing resources

Smukowski says dairy companies in Wisconsin are fortunate to have resources like CDR and people to contact for help with implementing strong food safety programs.

“We have a good working relationship with the Department of Agriculture. I think we’re very fortunate in this state,” she says. “A lot of people come in to ask questions, like how to start up an environmental monitoring program or implement things like that. There are a lot of ‘what if’ questions. If regulators come in, what’s in place? And how do we gear up for FSMA?”

She communicates with companies by phone or e-mail, or will visit a plant to walk through and give some recommendations on what they can do to make things better. She might test them so see if they ask her to take off a watch or ring, or offer a lab coat or hair net as part of their visitor policy.

“What I would recommend is to make sure all employees are trained, that GMPs are in place, and that they have a very good environmental monitoring program,” she says. “Then hopefully if they have something in the plant they will find it.”


Total U.S. milk production up,
California down in April

May 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 23 major milk-producing states during April totaled 16.63 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from April 2014, according to preliminary data released this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Milk Production chart.)

March revised production, at 16.91 billion pounds, was up 1.3 percent from March, NASS reports. The March revision represents an increase of 30 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 1,928 pounds for April, 16 pounds above April 2014. This is the highest production per cow for the month of April since the 23-state series began in 2003, NASS says.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.62 million head, 77,000 head more than April 2014 and 2,000 head more than March 2015.

For the entire United States, NASS estimates milk production totaled 17.79 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from April 2014. Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,911 pounds, 19 pounds above April 2014.

The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.31 million head, 65,000 head more than April 2014 and 1,000 head more than March 2015, NASS says.

California led the nation’s milk production with 3.60 billion pounds of milk in April, down 2.1 percent from its production a year earlier. The state was home to 1.78 million cows in April, down 2,000 head from the previous April and down 1,000 head from March 2015. Production per cow in California in April 2015 averaged 2,025 pounds, down 40 pounds from a year earlier.

Wisconsin followed with 2.40 billion pounds of milk produced in April, up 4.0 percent from its production a year earlier. NASS reports there were 1.28 million cows in Wisconsin in April, up 9,000 head from April 2014 and up 2,000 head from March 2015. Production per cow averaged 1,875 pounds, up 60 pounds from April 2014.


Dairy groups say Lisbon
Agreement endangers names

May 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — Despite the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) revising and expanding the Lisbon Agreement to the detriment of companies which use generic food terms in export markets, U.S. dairy industry groups this week praised U.S. representatives for fighting against the treaty changes.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Internationally Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) jointly thanked the U.S. delegation to the WIPO’s diplomatic conference on the Lisbon Agreement for calling attention to the change. They also praised the U.S. diplomats for leading a coalition of countries in criticizing the lack of an inclusive WIPO process as well as the negative costs they say the agreement likely will impose on taxpayers, farmers and companies in other countries.

WIPO is a United Nations agency charged with developing a balanced international intellectual property system. It concluded two weeks of talks in Geneva Thursday that both expanded the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin to include geographical indications (GIs) and expanded the protections granted under the international registry of protected terms.

During the two-week diplomatic conference, the United States led a 12-nation coalition in opposing the Lisbon Agreement changes and in urging equal participation rights for all WIPO members in considering the changes.

The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) says despite these efforts, WIPO allowed a small group of nations — mostly European — exclusive control in revising and expanding the Lisbon Agreement. In closing remarks this week, Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto noted that both the process and outcome of the Lisbon Agreement negotiations “raise fundamental questions about the legitimacy of the new Geneva Act.”

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern praised the work that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, along with the departments of State and Agriculture, have put into opposing these changes and in decrying WIPO’s refusal to allow all members to have a full say in the outcome of this agreement.

“The treaty and its proposed changes are clearly aimed at preventing competitors such as dairy producers and processors in the United States and other non-European countries from using names in international trade that they have used for decades,” he says.

USDEC President Tom Suber says, “WIPO’s decision to force non-Lisbon members into second-class status at this conference strips the resulting outcome of its legitimacy as an international agreement. It’s clear that this agreement is an effort to promote the interests of GI holders at the expense of generic users, rather than trying to balance both those concerns in good faith. It is clear to us that there are serious WTO (World Trade Organization) constituency problems with the approach Lisbon members have decided to pursue, and we ask USTR to carefully examine how to address these trade commitment violations.”

IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton agrees, adding, “Countries have a right to enter into treaties to address their own goals, but this should not come at the expense of other countries’ exports, nor their rights to fully participate in treaties having international impacts.”
Jaime Castaneda, CCFN executive director, says the revised Lisbon Agreement is “dangerously vague” and does not adequately protect common names.

“Not only are the protocols on how to handle new GIs flawed, but countries that choose to use the Lisbon Agreement system are likely to trigger disputes as they run up against World Trade Organization and other trade commitments, as well as intellectual property obligations,” he says.


Caputo Cheese diversifies by taking its range of Italian cheeses to retailers

By Kate Sander

MELROSE PARK, Ill. — The ability to adapt to changing market conditions is the hallmark of the dairy industry’s most successful companies, and Wiscon Corp., parent company of Caputo Cheese, took that to heart in 2008 when the recession hit.

From the 1980s until the mid 2000s, the company’s focus was offering processed and blended Italian cheeses for foodservice and end product manufacturers. But when the nation’s financial crisis hit, Natale Caputo, president, Caputo Cheese, knew that consumers would be cutting back on eating out — and that would likely lead to a stall in foodservice cheese sales.

The solution, Caputo decided, was to move into supplying cheese for grocers for the first time. Now, nearly seven years later, the company has a full line of specialty Italian cheeses offered under the Caputo brand. It also produces cheese for private label.

Products for retail include Parmesan and Romano shakers and various-sized containers, imported Romano and Parmesan in clipped bags and pillow packs, Romano, Asiago and Fresh Mozzarella, among others. In essence, everything the company has offered for foodservice it now offers in retail sizes as well.

Particularly successful is the company’s newer Fresh Mozzarella line — available for both foodservice and retail — which has received a great deal of attention as of late, Caputo says.

Click to continue reading...

Photo by Anjali M. Pinto. Photo previously published by Michigan Avenue magazine

CME butter breaks $2, dips
to $1.9725 to end the week

May 15, 2015

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — Spot butter at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) this week topped $2 per pound for the first time in 2015, but analysts seem skeptical this price level will hold.

“The current pricing at the CME Group has several buyers and sellers befuddled,” says USDA’s Dairy Market News. “Some feel the market should be going down instead of up. Cream supplies are plentiful, although the supply is lower than last week.”

CME butter reached $2.01 per pound on Monday and increased for the first part of the week before settling at $1.9725 today.

CME futures this week show butter at $2 or above for much of 2015.

“Butter futures are indicating that the $2 price level will be supported, but the key longer-term threat to higher butter prices may be exports, as world prices are less than $1.50 per pound,” says Bob Wellington, senior vice president and economist for Agri-Mark Inc., Methuen, Massachusetts.
However, “inventories remain tight due to surges in demand, and we expect that to continue,” he says.

“Right now, butter above $2 seems a bit high given the potential strength of production during May and June,” says Sara Dorland, managing partner with Ceres Dairy Risk Management LLC, Seattle. “It seems we could be due for a correction if the cold storage report doesn’t confirm tight stocks. That said, $2 may not be off the table if over the next two months the United States is unable to build butter stocks for later in the year.”

Robin Schmahl, commodity broker and owner of AgDairy LLC, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, says there are a few reports of manufacturers now opting to sell cream rather than churn extra butter.

“This was what took place last year for a period of time, resulting in the limiting of supply as manufacturers wanted to churn for demand rather than build plant inventories,” Schmahl says.

He adds it’s unclear how widespread this is and how much impact it could make on supply, but it could result in less supply available for demand or inventory building, lending to a self-induced tightness to some degree.

Analysts note that with lower export numbers, butter demand is largely coming from the domestic market.

Jon Spainhour, a broker for Rice Dairy LLC, Chicago, notes that the amount of milk going to Class III products (cheese/whey) versus Class IV has likely contributed to the strength in the butter market as well.

“Demand for butter in general seems to be pretty good,” he adds.

In its latest weekly National Dairy Retail Report, Dairy Market News notes that the weighted average advertised price for a 1-pound package of butter in the Midwest is $2.50. The national weighted average price is $3.09, a 30-cent decrease from last week but 18 cents higher than a year ago.

Dorland notes last year was a true test of domestic demand when butter topped $3 per pound at the CME. Despite higher prices, retailers were able to still promote butter and in some cases, the prices were below the CME, suggesting some groups actively managed their costs.

“The sticker shock may be gone with $4-per-pound butter meaning consumers may still be willing to purchase butter at higher prices,” she says. “However, that could be a very different willingness during the holidays versus the summer months. Higher prices could cause people to buy less butter than they otherwise would have with lower prices.”

Dorland adds the question is whether higher butterfat prices affect ice cream demand during the summer months.

“Unlike last year, where butterfat was somewhat limited overseas, butter appears readily available,” she says. “Imports, mainly food prep and anhydrous milkfat, could play a bigger role this year due to the disparity between the U.S. and world price. That is something that could cause butterfat stock to build — a factor that could pressure the CME lower.”

Mike North, president of Commodity Risk Management Group, Platteville, Wisconsin, notes that since the beginning of the year, the price pattern of spot butter has shown late/early month strength followed by a decline of a smaller proportion prior to repeating the cycle.

North adds that higher prices on store shelves likely will be coming as the market departs from elevated spring demand and continues to place higher priced butter into the hands of the retailer.

“A quick review of last year’s prices revealed a much quicker response to higher wholesale prices, so probability favors higher prices as fewer retailers will likely feature butter promotions and more will likely pass on growing costs to the consumer,” he says. “Any sustained periods of such activity will negatively impact prices as U.S. markets remain noncompetitive and imports continue to grow.”

Meanwhile, CME cheese prices have been relatively stable in recent weeks, and analysts expect that to continue with possible movement to the downside.

Cheddar barrels have been in the $1.60s for the past month, reaching $1.6775 per pound May 4 but settling back into the lower $1.60s this past week at $1.6225 today.

CME Cheddar blocks moved from the upper-$1.50s in mid-April to $1.61 to close out the month, and since have increased to $1.62 per pound as of today.

“I think the market seems pretty in balance,” Spainhour says. “I think as long as Class III stays higher than Class IV, it will continue to get that milk.”

Wellington notes that milk production in the Upper Midwest is rising and mostly going into cheese, so large spikes in that market are not expected at this point.

North says that while Cheddar barrel supply has remained tight and allowed the market to maintain these levels, storage of blocks has grown substantially with many warehouses at capacity.

“As more of the spring flush works its way into the market, it is not likely that prices will maintain themselves,” he says.

Dorland says that looking to overseas markets, it seems U.S. cheese prices should remain right where they are for now.

“That said, domestic demand and exports are both strong right now,” she says. “The United States is in the midst of peak milk production with milk subsiding heading into the end of the year. Overall, it seems cheese prices could experience more volatility later in the year with a chance of moving higher should domestic demand remain strong.”

Dairy Market News notes that cheese manufacturers seem to be adding to their own inventories, a change from recent patterns where many had light inventories due to sales demand.

“Sales remain strong, but many manufacturers are now producing enough cheese beyond sales commitments to gradually increase manufacturer inventory levels,” Dairy Market News says. “Discussion is increasing about possible near-term slightly weaker cash prices. However, with cheese futures prices for coming months above current cash prices, many manufacturers remain comfortable with increasing current holdings, knowing that future sale prices can be protected.”


Petition asks USDA to begin
steps toward organic check-off

May 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Organic Trade Association (OTA) and the GRO Organic Core Committee this week presented USDA with a formal petition to begin steps to conduct a vote on and implement a research and promotion check-off program for the organic industry.

OTA says this action reflects three years of dialogue with the entire organic sector and comes 25 years after Congress authorized USDA’s National Organic Program. OTA adds that this also is the first time in the 49-year history of U.S. agricultural check-off programs that organic could be recognized as a distinct commodity class based on production practices, and it could have significant ramifications for the burgeoning organic sector.

“The organic industry in America is thriving and maturing, but it is at a critical juncture,” says Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director, OTA. “Many consumers remain unaware of what that organic seal really means. Organic production in this country is not keeping pace with the robust demand. An organic check-off program would give organic stakeholders the opportunity to collectively invest in research, build domestic supply and communicate the value of the organic brand to advance the entire industry to a new level.”

The proposal estimates the organic check-off, or GRO Organic (Generic Research and Promotion Order for Organic), could raise more than $30 million a year to advance the organic sector. The program would have a strong focus on research to help farmers succeed and technical services to help accelerate the adoption of organic practices. OTA has worked for the last three years to explore the feasibility of an organic check-off, gathering information throughout the country in town hall meetings, panel discussions, surveys and phone calls. More than 5,000 organic farms and businesses responded to OTA’s surveys, showing support for establishing a dedicated organic check-off by a margin of 2 to 1. (See “Organic industry prepares for organic check-off proposal” in the Feb. 13, 2015, issue of Cheese Market News.)

“The GRO Organic check-off is as unique as the sector it will be representing,” says Melissa Hughes, director of government affairs for Organic Valley. “This is not your father’s check-off. This check-off contains meaningful reforms to improve upon older check-offs. It has been painstakingly designed to reflect the diverse needs of the organic community, from the smallest organic farmer to the largest organic processor, and all the organic handlers, food makers and organic businesses in-between.”

Some of the highlights of the GRO Organic proposal include:

• The check-off board would be made up of 50 percent producers and 50 percent handlers.

• Producers would directly select their regional representatives through balloting.

• A referendum would be required every seven years to decide whether or not to continue the program.

• Every certificate holder subject to an assessment would have a direct vote — there would be no bloc voting.

• Assessments would be made throughout the value chain, including producers, handlers and processors, to reflect the full-chain production system.

• Organic producers would have the option of paying an assessment based on net organic sales or producer net profit, whichever they prefer.

• Farmers and handlers with gross organic revenue below $250,000 would choose whether or not to pay into the program.

• At least 25 percent of the funds would be earmarked for research, including regional priorities.

• All of the research, inventions and innovations resulting from organic check-off programing would remain in the public domain.

Some, however, have voiced concern over the organic check-off proposal. National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson has raised issue with the amount of money appropriated to agricultural research, the processor majority composition of the board, and the 15-percent administrative cap.

Johnson says the allocation of 25 percent of funds for agricultural research is too low. He also suggests producers should have a majority of the board seats since they are a majority of all certificate holders, and that the administrative cap should be lowered to 5 percent.

“This is the first step toward an organic checkoff, and NFU looks forward to working with USDA and stakeholders to ensure the checkoff adequately addresses the needs of organic family farmers and ranchers,” Johnson says. “NFU will work throughout this lengthy process to make sure the checkoff works for NFU members according to policy enacted by delegates to its convention.”

After USDA completes its review of the application, an official proposal for an organic research and promotion check-off program will be published in the Federal Register, followed by a public comment period. The final step will be a referendum on the proposed check-off, with all certified organic stakeholders eligible to vote. Approval by a majority of the organic stakeholders voting is required for implementation.

A summary of the proposal and a copy of the full application are available at


USDA lowers forecast for
2015 milk production total

May 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — In its first projections for 2016, USDA’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report forecasts U.S. milk production will reach a record 213.6 billion pounds as improved forage availability and moderate feed costs are expected to support gains in milk per cow.

Meanwhile, USDA lowered its projection for 2015 milk production to 208.6 billion pounds, down from 210.0 billion pounds last month. The forecast was lowered as drought in the West impacts milk per cow and growth in the cow herd is expected to be slower.

In this month’s supply and demand estimates report, USDA raised its fat and skim-solids imports forecast due to strong demand for imported cheeses. Fat-basis imports are now forecast to reach 4.8 billion pounds in 2015, up from the 4.4 billion pounds forecast last month, while skim-solids imports are forecast to reach 5.7 billion pounds, up from 5.5 billion pounds in last month’s report.

The forecast for fat-basis exports in 2015 also was raised by 100 million pounds to 10.8 billion pounds due to better-than-expected March exports. In addition, based on higher nonfat dry milk (NDM) and lactose shipments, the 2015 skim-solids export forecast was raised by 1.3 billion pounds from last month to 37.8 billion pounds for the year.

The forecasts for 2015 cheese, NDM and whey prices were lowered in this month’s report due to weaker demand, but the butter price forecast was raised due to strong demand.

The 2015 cheese price now is forecast to average in the $1.615-$1.665 per pound range, down a penny from last month. The NDM price is forecast to be in the $1.025-$1.065 range, down from $1.090-$1.130 forecast last month. Dry whey is forecast to be in the $0.475-$0.505 range, down from $0.490-$0.520 in last month’s report.

The 2015 butter forecasts is increased to $1.810-$1.890, up from $1.705-$1.785 in last month’s report.

With weaker cheese and whey prices, USDA lowered the 2015 Class III price forecast to $16.05-$16.55 per hundredweight, down 15 cents from last month’s report. The Class IV price also is lowered to $14.35-$14.95, down from $14.45-$15.05 as the stronger butter price is more than offset by the reduced prices for NDM. The all-milk price forecast for 2015 is $17.10-$17.60.

In 2016, with stronger domestic demand and exports, USDA is projecting cheese, NDM and whey prices to be higher but butter prices are forecast lower as strong NDM demand is expected to support relatively high levels of butter production.

Cheese in 2016 currently is forecast to average in the $1.610-$1.710 range. NDM is forecast to average in the $1.215-$1.285 range, and dry whey is forecast to average in the $0.515-$0.545 range. Butter is forecast to average in the $1.725-$1.855 range in 2016.

USDA projects the 2016 Class III price will be in the $16.20-$17.20 range, while the Class IV price will be in the $15.60-$16.70 range. The 2016 average all-milk price is forecast to be in the $17.45-$18.45 range.


Senate to move forward with debate on TPA

May 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — Legislation on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would “fast track” trade agreements through Congress with up or down votes with no amendments, failed to secure enough votes Tuesday in the U.S. Senate to move forward. However, Senate leaders reached agreement on a plan to consider four trade bills, including TPA, that they hope will eventually help secure TPA passage.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to hold votes Thursday morning on two trade bills — a customs and currency bill and the African Growth and Opportunity Act — which both passed with broad bipartisan support. Following those votes, the Senate voted to proceed with debate on the TPA bill in conjunction with Trade Adjustment Assistance, which provides financial aid and training to workers displaced due to trade agreements.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) commended the Senate for taking key steps Thursday toward approval of new TPA legislation.
“New Trade Promotion Authority is crucial to securing well-negotiated trade agreements that open foreign markets to more U.S. dairy products,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

“Knowing that a trade agreement will be considered by Congress under Trade Promotion Authority paves the way to press our negotiating partners to make their best offers on the most sensitive issues,” says USDEC President Tom Suber. “Clearly, dairy exports fall into that category and the U.S. needs all the tools it can muster to get hte best possible deal.”

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) says while it was disappointed by Tuesday’s vote, it’s hopeful that this latest agreement by Senate leadership will garner support from both sides of the aisle to pass the legislation as soon as possible.

“The U.S. dairy industry in particular has the potential to benefit greatly from two trade agreements currently under negotiation — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Trade Promotion Authority is critical to securing good outcomes for dairy in both agreements,” says IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton.

Meanwhile, Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and general counsel, talked about dairy market access during a panel discussion Monday at the Washington International Trade Association’s “State of Play TPP” event in Washington. The panel discussed the dynamics of the TPP negotiations, outstanding issues and the implications for U.S. and global trade in the absence of an agreement.

“Just a decade ago the U.S. was a net importer of dairy products, and now benefits from a dairy trade surplus of over $4 billion dairy exports have risen from $1.4 billion in 2004 to $7.1 billion in 2014,” Hough says.

For this trend in growth to continue, Hough adds, it is imperative to have real market access to the Japanese and Canadian markets and to protect common cheese names in global trade agreements.


NCIMS passes proposals
on regulatory duplication

May 8, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. — The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) met here last week to address the 100 proposals submitted to revise the Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) and its related documents.

The conference drew 360 attendees who represented dairy regulators from 49 states and Puerto Rico, FDA and more than 150 companies and stakeholders. Of the 100 proposals under consideration, the attendees passed 49.

Dairy stakeholder organizations including the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) attended the meeting to advocate positions of interest to dairy cooperatives, farmers and processors.

Changes accepted at the NCIMS Conference are applicable to Grade A dairy farms, processing plants and milk products. IDFA expects FDA to issue the final report in October 2015 and to require implementation by October 2016, unless other dates are specifically noted.

This year’s meeting culminated a years-long effort to align the PMO with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) preventive controls provisions, IDFA and NMPF note.

Ultimately, four separate proposals from the Liaison Committee were passed by the delegate body to modify the PMO to address gaps that exist between the PMO and FSMA, NMPF says. By passing the proposals, it was recognized that an exemption from FSMA for Grade A facilities would not be necessary, as PMO-regulated facilities would be compliant with FSMA, and these facilities would continue to be regulated and inspected under the PMO moving forward.

“This is an important victory for farmers so that they will not be regulated by duplicative federal regulations,” NMPF says.

“These changes were carefully negotiated with FDA so that the Grade A milk program would be seen as being equivalent to FSMA, and milk plants would not be subject to dual FSMA and PMO inspections,” adds Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs and the NCIMS program chair. “These changes will not apply to non-Grade A dairy facilities, such as plants that manufacture cheese, ice cream and butter.”

IDFA submitted two proposals that were not passed at the conference. One asked the states to consider lowering the somatic cell count standard from 750,000 cells per milliliter to 400,000 cells per milliliter to align with European Union requirements. If it had passed, this proposal would have eliminated the burden of recordkeeping, milk segregation and derogation reports under USDA’s Health Certificate program, IDFA notes. The proposal failed 18-32 by secret ballot.

In the other proposal, IDFA sought regulations to allow for transportation of yogurt from one plant to another for final consumer packaging without re-pasteurization. Although it didn’t pass, IDFA says it will work with regulators on a state-by-state basis to accomplish the same goal.

Meanwhile, three significant proposals related to drug residue violations were passed by the delegates including:

• A pilot program will be developed to expand the drugs (beyond beta-lactams) for which testing is required;

• Protocols and responsibilities were established related to use of “unapproved” drug residue testing, or testing that is done outside of what is currently required using test kits that have not been approved by FDA and NCIMS; and

• The criteria for approving drug residue kits was modified — specifically, the sensitivity requirement for tetracyclines and for other drugs that have “safe” levels was lessened, NMPF notes.

IDFA notes that agreement on new procedures that will allow for voluntary testing for non-beta-lactam drug residues using test methods that are available in the market but not yet reviewed or approved by FDA and the NCIMS is a goal IDFA members have had for some time. Implementation of requirements for testing milk tankers for additional drugs will take effect no earlier than 2017, and the industry will have the needed flexibility to conduct voluntary testing for other types of drugs residues in milk.

Many details about the new pilot program, including its scope and timing, were left unresolved, NMPF says. The Appendix N committee of NCIMS will meet in early June to being addressing the details.

In addition, FDA last week announced the availability of, and is seeking public comments on, a risk assessment of drug residues in milk and dairy products. FDA says the risk assessment is a tool to assist with re-evaluating which animal drug residues should be included in milk testing programs. The agency undertook this project in response to a request from NCIMS, which asked FDA to conduct an assessment of animal drug residues in the milk supply to inform potential changes to milk testing program requirements.

In response, FDA developed a multicriteria-based ranking model for risk management of animal drug residues in milk and milk products. A key question is whether residues of animal drugs other than beta-lactam antibiotics — currently the focus of milk-sampling programs — warrant monitoring.

For its risk assessment, FDA selected 54 animal drugs and their various formulations for evaluation. The multicriteria-based ranking model is based on four overarching criteria that collectively contribute to a drug’s score and rank within the group: the likelihood that it would be administered to lactating dairy cows; the likelihood that, following administration, drug residues would be present in milk (bulk tank or bulk milk pickup tanker); the relative extent to which consumers could be exposed to drug residues via consumption of milk and milk products; and the potential for a human health hazard given exposure to the drug residue.

The multicriteria-based model evaluated an overall score for each of the selected animal drugs based on the four criteria. The group of animal drugs were ranked, from a food safety perspective, on the basis of the overall score.

Drugs in a variety of drug classes scored high, with drugs in eight different drug classes ranked among the top 20 highest-scoring drugs.

These eight classes include beta-lactam antibiotics, antiparasitics, macrolides, aminoglycosides, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), sulfonamides, tetracyclines and amphenicols.

Based on different analytics — the rank of the highest scoring drug in each class, the rank of each drug in the class evaluated in the model and the number of drugs in each class that were among the top 20 highest-scoring drugs — beta-lactam antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs (especially avermectins) were the two highest ranked drug classes.

Avermectins were among the highest-ranking antiparasitic drugs, although other antiparasitics also ranked comparatively high.

Among the other comparatively high-ranking drug classes, tulathromycin (a macrolide), gentamicin (an aminoglycoside), flunixin (an NSAID), sulfaquinoxaline (a sulfonamide), tetracycline (a tetracycline) and florfenicol (an amphenicol) were among the highest-ranked drugs in their classes.

The milk and milk products included in this multicriteria-based ranking were limited to 12 for practical considerations.

The agency based its selection of the milk and milk products on three general factors: consumption patterns, product composition and dairy processing commonly used in the United States.

The 12 products were: Cheddar, Mozzarella, processed cheese, butter, yogurt, fluid milk, sour cream, heavy cream, cottage cheese, evaporated milk, nonfat dry milk and ice cream.

The results of the risk assessment provide information for FDA, NCIMS and other stakeholders regarding potential changes to the PMO. The risk assessment report documents the methodology used to develop the model, the model structure and model results. The report also collects, provides and analyzes all the currently available data and information for each of 54 animal drugs that were in this risk assessment. The risk assessment may be used to identify and prioritize research needs, FDA says.

Copies of the risk assessment are available at

FDA is seeking public comment on the assessment. The agency is particularly interested in comments on the ranking model approach, including the specific criteria, scoring and weighting scheme; the assumptions and scientific data used to inform how the animal drugs were scored in the model; the selection of animal drugs evaluated; and the clarity and the transparency of the risk assessment.

Comments are due July 29 and may be submitted electronically at The docket number is FDA-2015-N-1305.

Written comments may be submitted to Division of Dockets Management, FDA, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.


CDFA announces June 3 public
hearing on state milk pricing

May 8, 2015

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has announced a public hearing will be held June 3 to consider amendments to the stabilization and marketing plans for market milk for the Northern California and Southern California marketing areas.

The hearing will be held at 8 a.m. Pacific Time June 3 in the CDFA Auditorium at 1220 North St., Sacramento. The hearing will remain open until all testimony has been received, CDFA says.

The hearing will consider proposed amendments to the Class 4b pricing formula with a sunset clause having an expiration date not to exceed 24 months, CDFA says. Among the issues to be addressed will be the whey valuation in the Class 4b pricing formula.

Under California’s state milk marketing order and classified pricing system, Class 4b milk is used to manufacture cheese and whey products, similar to Class III milk under federal milk marketing orders (FMMOs). However, due to differences in pricing formulas, minimum prices for Class 4b milk received by dairy farmers have been substantially less than Class III minimum prices received by dairy farmers marketing milk through FMMOs, stakeholders say.

The Class 4b formula has been a divisive issue between California farmers and processors, and legislative and administrative efforts to close the division have not yet been successful.

Western United Dairymen (WUD) says its leadership was pleased to hear news of the hearing and looks forward to serious consideration of proposed amendments to the Class 4b pricing formula.

WUD, in joint effort with other dairy trade associations, has been committed to finding a way to bring change to the California milk pricing system that will create a fair pricing structure for the state’s dairy producers, the organization says.

“I was happy to see the announcement” says Frank Mendonsa, president, WUD, “and even more pleased to see Secretary Ross’ support for immediate action. I encourage dairymen to be present at the hearing and make sure CDFA hears directly from the family-run dairies this pricing will affect.”

Rachel Kaldor, executive director of the Dairy Institute of California, says the institute appreciates Ross’ commitment to California’s dairy industry.

“After finding some common ground during last summer’s legislative push, we had hoped to make progress with our industry partners to formulate both short-term remedies and long-term reform,” Kaldor says. “Our efforts were eclipsed by the pressure of price declines and drought, which are understandable reasons to call a hearing. We plan to fully participate. The subject of the appropriate valuation of whey in regulated prices is of great concern to our members.”

In 2014, CDFA held various meetings with the California Dairy Future Task Force and its work groups to create a pricing system with the goal of taking advantage of the new global marketplace to create growth and prosperity for California’s dairy families and processors.

“Even though those efforts last year did not result in improvements to our current milk pricing system, I remain committed to finding long-term solutions to the issues affecting the California dairy industry,” says Karen Ross, secretary, CDFA.

“While the industry must continue to work toward long-term structural reforms to address these issues, I am concerned that the current conditions impacting the production of milk and the marketing of dairy products may warrant short-term adjustments to the current pricing levels. Thus, the department is calling a hearing on its own motion,” Ross says.

Interested parties are invited to submit alternative proposals detailing adjustments in the whey valuation of the Class 4b pricing formula with a sunset clause having an expiration date not to exceed 24 months, CDFA says. Alternative proposals must be signed by a responsible party and received by CDFA’s Dairy Marketing Brand no later than 4 p.m. Pacific Time May 20. The department encourages that proposals be sent electronically via email to or faxed to 916-900-5341. Proposals also may be mailed to CDFA’s Dairy Marketing Branch at 1220 North St., Sacramento, CA 95814.

Ross notes the department’s decision will include consideration of all relevant legal and economic factors including, but not limited to, the following:

• The reasonableness and economic soundness of market milk prices for all classes, giving consideration to combined income from those classes, in relation to cost of production and marketing for all purposes including manufacturing;

• Whether prices will ensure an adequate and continuous supply, in relation to demand, of pure, fresh, wholesome market milk for all purposes, including manufacturing purposes, at prices to consumers, which, when considered with relevant economic criteria, are fair and reasonable;

• Whether prices, including the prices of components of milk, established by the Secretary for the various classes of market milk bear a reasonable and sound economic relationship to each other; and other factors.

CDFA’s entire exhibit for this hearing will be available for public inspection at the Dairy Marketing Branch office on May 27.

For more information, contact Hyrum Eastman or Candace Gates at 916-900-5014.

Meanwhile, earlier this year three major dairy producer cooperatives petitioned USDA for the creation of a California FMMO. USDA has not announced whether it will hold a public hearing to consider that petition, but three public outreach meetings were held this week to review proposals.


U.S. cheese production up 1.8 percent in March

May 8, 2015

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, was 987.2 million pounds in March, up 1.8 percent from March 2014, according to data released this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.)

On an average daily basis, March 2015 cheese production was up 0.5 percent from February 2015’s 887.3 million pounds.

Mozzarella continues to be the nation’s most-produced cheese, with 336.6 million pounds produced in March, a 0.4-percent gain versus a year earlier. Production of Italian-type cheese, of which Mozzarella is the largest component, was up 1.5 percent from a year earlier to 432.7 million pounds.

Production of Cheddar totaled 279.8 million pounds in March, up 0.5 percent from production a year earlier. Production of American-type cheese, of which Cheddar is the largest component, totaled 388.4 million pounds, a 1.7-percent gain from March 2014.

Wisconsin led the nation’s cheese production with 255.9 million pounds in March, up 2.5 percent from its production in March 2014. California followed with 211.6 million pounds, a 1.3-percent gain over its production a year earlier.

The next four cheese-producing states in March were Idaho with 82.2 million pounds, up 1.9 percent from its production a year earlier; New York with 68.0 million pounds, up 1.7 percent; New Mexico with 65.9 million pounds, down 2.8 percent; and Minnesota with 58.2 million pounds, up 14.7 percent.

NASS reports total U.S. butter production in March was 161.7 million pounds, down 3.0 percent from March 2014. On an average daily basis, March 2015 butter production was down 6.5 percent from February 2015’s 156.3 million pounds.

California led the nation’s butter production with 57.0 million pounds in March, down 3.5 percent from its production a year earlier.


Dean Foods Co. launches
national branded milk

May 8, 2015

By Chelsey Dequaine

DALLAS — The country’s first and currently only national branded fresh white milk is here. Dean Foods Co. has introduced DairyPure, which the company says overnight has become a multi-billion dollar consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand.

In launching DairyPure, Dean Foods says it is not replacing its 31 regional brands, but will place them on the DairyPure label. This was the strategy when the company launched TruMoo flavored milk in 2011, which is now the nation’s largest flavored milk brand.

“The great thing about this strategy is it gives consumers the best of both worlds,” says Greg Schwarz, vice president, marketing, Dean Foods. “It allows us to speak with one voice.”

Schwarz says TruMoo taught the company it could execute a national strategy with a smaller flavored milk business. He says in 2013, a DairyPure pilot showed Dean Foods it could drive share growth for its branded white milk business.

“Given the size of our branded white milk business, we wanted to make sure we got it right,” Schwarz says.

The DairyPure pilot was followed by Dean Foods converting all regional labels to a common farm scene look last year. A category Schwarz says was fragmented nationally is now unified for Dean under the DairyPure brand.

DairyPure is backed by Dean’s Five-Point Purity Promise. The promise includes no artificial growth hormones, all milk tested for antibiotics, continual quality testing to ensure purity, milk coming only from cows fed a healthy diet and milk cold shipped from a local dairy.

“It is a very exciting time,” Schwarz says. “We are looking forward to our consumers and trade partners responding positively to the DairyPure brand and our exclusive Five-Point Purity Promise.”

Dean Foods says it consumer tested 14 names. Aside from being the most popular, consumers also chose DairyPure as the name that most reinforced the purity promise.

With national milk competition such as almond and soy milk, Schwarz says he expects consumers to choose DairyPure based on the company’s focus of delivering local, fresh, pure milk.

“We have a great infrastructure,” Schwarz says. “When we’ve looked at the distance from our dairies to our stores, we travel less than 100 miles. Consumers want to know if its cold shipped milk. DairyPure is.”

Dean says DairyPure is on trend with consumers who want a clean label and locally sourced, fresh/lightly processed, protein- and nutrient-packed products.

With one UPC code, Dean Foods and grocers can take advantage of national advertising campaigns and promotions. Dean Foods says it also unlocks potential for the company to work with co-branding opportunities with other CPG companies who manufacture products that pair with milk, such as cookies and cereal.

The company says DairyPure will benefit the industry by enabling it to better educate consumers on the benefits of white milk as a low-cost protein alternative to their diets.

“DairyPure creates efficiencies in procurement, marketing, sales, manufacturing and supply chain,” Schwarz says. “It will extend into creamers, buttermilk and school milk later this year. It’s a platform for future innovations.”

DairyPure milk is available at grocery stores nationwide in whole, reduced-fat, lowfat and skim/fat-free milks in gallons, half gallons and quarts. DairyPure half and half and creams will be available in stores in June.

For more information, visit


CMN article search

Today's Cheese Spot Trading
May 28, 2015

Barrels: $1.6500 (+4 1/2)
Blocks: $1.6800 (+2)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total March
987.222 mil. lbs.

Milk Production
U.S. Total April
17.785 bil. lbs.

Guest Columnist

What’s in your cheese?

Edward Zimmerman, The Food Connector

Click here for our columnist archives


© 2015 Cheese Market News • Quarne Publishing, LLC • Legal InformationOnline Privacy Policy
Cheese Market News • PO Box 620244 • Middleton, WI 53562-0244 • Advertising Office: 608/831-6002 • Editorial Office: 608/288-9090