Dairy Commission refuses to budge on high dairy prices

TORONTO, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - Consumers won't be getting any relief from high dairy prices next year. The Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) announced today there will be no change to the price of industrial milk in 2010, even though dairy production costs fell by nearly 2% this year.

The price of industrial milk - used to make cheese, butter, ice cream and yogurt - has skyrocketed by 60% over the past 15 years, or twice the rate of inflation, making Canadian dairy prices among the highest in the world.

"The decision by the CDC to keep dairy prices artificially high does nothing to reverse a long-term trend of falling demand for dairy products. The CDC is pricing dairy right off our menus," says Garth Whyte, President and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). "Year after year the CDC forces Canadians to swallow price increases when production costs go up, but they refuse to pass along the savings when production costs go down."

CRFA and restaurant industry leaders appeared before the commission last week to argue for a reduction in the price of industrial milk. They delivered three messages to the CDC:

    1.  During an economic downturn when consumers are pulling back on
        spending, dairy prices must be reduced to be more competitive.

    2.  Dairy prices need to be rolled back by 16.5% to bring them back in
        line with the consumer price index.

    3.  Canadians need to know who is accountable for ensuring dairy prices
        are fair to all customers.

The restaurant industry is a major dairy customer, buying nearly $2.5 billion in dairy products annually.

CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with 33,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. The foodservice industry directly employs more than one million people across Canada.

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: For further information: Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, (416) 649-4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca

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