Saturday, August 12, 2017

U.S. allows filtered milk for all cheeses

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Friday that it will allow the use of ultrafiltered (UF) milk in all cheeses and related cheese products covered by federal standards.

Before, the FDA had allowed the use of UF milk in only some standardized cheeses and also required extra labeling.

The changes now also allow ultrafiltration to be done at one plant and shipment to another processing facility.

Ultrafiltered milk is a contentious issue in trade with Canada. It’s a new product and therefore not on the list of dairy products that face high tariffs to protect high-priced milk produced by Canadian farmers who are members of provincial marketing boards.

Canadian farmers have responded by creating a new milk-pricing class so Canadian processors can buy cheaper milk to produce ultrafiltered milk to displace what they have been importing.

Farmers and processors in the U.S. are complaining about that pricing policy, have filed preliminary papers with the World Trade Organization where they could lodge a formal complaint and U.S. President Donald Trump says it will be included in negotiations that begin Aug. 16 to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

UF milk is created by forcing milk through dense filters to remove water and lactose.

Typically the process removes two-thirds of the water making it cheaper to make cheese.

 “It’s more practical and economical to ship this liquid, filtered milk to cheesemakers, other dairy manufacturers and even food processors in concentrated form,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.