Food Vancouver Select Guide: Interview with the Dairy Farmer's of Canada
This time the Food Vancouver Select Guide has the following interview of an Eat! Fraser Valley Food and Cooking Festival presenter the Dairy Farmer's of Canada. The (DFC) will be offering seminars and workshops on everyone's favourite thing - cheese! Be sure to stop by and learn more about the DFC and how hard they work to ensure our Canadian dairy products are of the utmost quality and taste.
At the Eat! Fraser Valley Food and Cooking Festival you will learn:
How to organize a Wine & Cheese evening
How to serve and store cheeses
Differences between the crusts and textures of cheeses
Cheese and wine pairings
FV - For the readers who aren’t sure what the Dairy Farmers of Canada do, can you give us a brief overview of what DFC does?
DFC - Run for producers by producers, Dairy Farmers of Canada is the voice of Canadian dairy producers. Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canada’s 12,965 dairy farms. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry, today and in the future. It works to maintain policies that foster the viability of Canadian dairy producers and promote dairy products and their health benefits.
FV - Why is this work so important for Canadian dairy consumers?
DFC - Canadians see Canadian milk as being high-quality, fresh, safe and containing no antibiotic residues and hormones. Canadian dairy products are made by fellow Canadians. Canadian dairy products contribute to the Canadian economy and are produced in keeping with deeply-held Canadian values such as respect for the environment, food quality, and animal care. Made from one of our country’s most precious resources, Canadian dairy products are a source of pride. The 100% Canadian Milk symbol allows Canadians to easily recognize and purchase dairy products made with one of the best things our country has to offer. By adopting the 100% Canadian Milk brand, both farmers and processors are making a commitment to Canadian consumers that dairy products bearing the symbol are made from 100% Canadian milk.
FV - In terms of safety and quality, how high does Canadian dairy rate?
DFC - We are proud to report that Canadian milk is produced according to standards that are among the highest in the world for safety and quality. Dairy producers in Canada are implementing an on-farm food safety program on their farms - called Canadian Quality Milk, this program keeps track of a dairy producers' actions to prevent and minimize the risk of exposing food to safety hazards by:
Effectively cooling and storing milk;
Safely shipping dairy animals;
Closely monitoring and recording the use of medicines and chemicals to prevent residues in milk and meat;
Sanitizing the milking equipment and making sure the wash water is clean.
All milk produced on Canadian farms is tested for antibiotic residues at its arrival at the processing plant. Any milk that tests positive for antibiotic residues is discarded and of course not sold to the public. Farmers are paid for the quality of their milk, and are fined heavily if it does not meet proper standards. Also, rBST, a growth hormone for dairy cows, is not approved for sale in Canada.
FV - As the needs of Canadians change, how does DFC keep up? For example, it seems more and more people are looking for organic products, not to mention the constant desire for low fat and healthy conscious dairy items.
DFC - Product innovation and marketing are crucial to the ongoing development of Canada’s dairy industry. The market place is continually changing, and the dairy industry is developing new products in response. Milk products definitely have a ‘Healthy Halo’ within this segment. Yogurt, a category with a great nutritional profile, continues to grow and sales of chocolate milk are growing as more and more people are discovering its tasty and nutritional benefits. Today, there is a dazzling array of new and innovative products such as milk that is fine-filtered, contains DHA (an important omega-3), has added calcium or fibre, contains prebiotic or probiotic helpful bacteria, and comes in a wide variety of flavours.
As well, milk is going beyond the dairy case for consumers that are on-the-go! Milk, chocolate milk, flavoured milk and drinkable yogurt are now available in eye-catching, re-sealable plastic bottles that are shelf stable, which means they can be stored without refrigeration. Milk, cheese and yogurt are now available in handy single-serve packages that make them ideal for quick, nutritious snacks. Dairy Farmers of Canada along with their partners are launching new dairy products supporting each others’ respective products, programs and images with a very strong focus on nutrition.
FV - There are so many people nowadays experiencing allergies and intolerance to what were staples for people for hundreds of years – things such as nuts, wheat and dairy products? To what do you think that is attributed (as it relates to dairy) and how can the DFC ensure a secure place in the ever changing needs of consumer?
DFC - Milk allergies are rare in adults and should not be confused with lactose intolerance. Milk allergies involve immunological reactions, while lactose intolerance involves digestive factors. Milk allergies and lactose intolerance are therefore not similar conditions and should be treated differently. Fewer than 1% of adults and 3% of children have a clinically proven milk allergy, and children tend to outgrow a milk allergy by the age of 3. These adults and children must eliminate milk products from their diets while making sure they get all of the nutrients found in milk through other foods or supplementation.
FV - Let’s talk Eat! Fraser Valley Food and Cooking Festival
DFC - This is the third year of our participation in the Eat Fraser Valley show in which we offer Canadian cheese seminars. One aspect of this particular show is that we are in a farm community so teaching consumers about cheese is very relevant and appreciated by consumers and local dairy farmers alike.
FV - DFC will be hosting some cheese workshops! Everyone loves cheese. Tell us a bit more about what we can expect.
DFC - Our seminars are about understanding and appreciating the various categories of cheese. The seminars are extremely well attended. In fact, guests will line up to ensure they secure a spot! We will teach folks (actually sense the cheese using sight, feel, smell and finally taste) about 6 varieties of cheese. Consumers get DFC booklet, All You Need is Cheese, which explains handling, storage and entertaining with Canadian cheeses. During the 30 minutes I touch on each of these topics. Guests will of course have an opportunity to ask questions.
FV - What are you most looking forward to about the show?
DFC - I really enjoy having the opportunity to interact with so many consumers. Our sessions allow them to experience varieties of cheese that are not always part of their purchasing. It is a pleasure to share our knowledge with such enthusiastic participants.
FV - DFC has such a vast connection with so many partners including universities, community organizations, suppliers, nutrition councils, and many more. How do these relationships serve DFC and the greater communities?
DFC - Dairy Farmers of Canada is proud to support Canadian research in the fields of dairy production, in particular, research that advances our understanding and improve animal health, production and well-being, minimize our impact on the environment. The research priorities for dairy production research in Canada are:
Realize greater efficiency;
Improve animal health and welfare;
Enhance production methods that respect the environment;
Improve dairy research facilities in Canada;
Make funds available to genetic improvement and breeding programs.
Dairy Farmers of Canada invests up to $1.7 million per year into health and nutrition research and dairy research in Canada. Research is funded in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the National Science and Engineering Research Council. Our primary goal at Dairy Farmers of Canada is to promote the quality and the great nutritional value of Canadian dairy products.
To learn more about the DFC, please visit dairyfarmers.ca For information and details on the Eat! Fraser Valley Food and Cooking Festival, visit eatfraservalley.com
Article by Dana Mahon
Images supplied by Eat! Fraser Valley Food and Cooking Festival and Food Vancouver
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