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Analysts share global market
outlook at ADPI conference

April 29, 2016

By Alyssa Mitchell

CHICAGO — Market analysts shared their outlook for global fundamentals in dairy markets this week during the American Dairy Products Institute/American Butter Institute annual conference in Chicago.

Monday’s session, “Dairy Market Outlook for 2016 and Beyond,” featured insight from analysts Jon Davis, meteorology team lead at Riskpulse Inc.; Tom Bailey, North American analyst for Rabobank; and Phil Plourd, president and CEO, Blimling and Associates. The session was moderated by Mary Ledman, owner of Keough Ledman Associates Inc. and Daily Dairy Report.

Davis provided an overview of global weather fundamentals. He notes that currently the forecast is transitioning from an El Niño pattern to a La Niña pattern over the next several months, which brings a higher risk of heat and dryness in the United States.

This heat pattern was in the Pacific region (Southeast Asia and New Zealand) over the last 12 months but now is moving toward the United States, Davis says.

This could have an impact on both feed and livestock, he adds.

“The next few months are important to see what conditions form in terms of heat and water temperature,” he says, noting the Northern Pacific region will be a key area to watch as well as the entire United States.

Davis notes that with the risk of high heat this summer, manufacturers of perishable products, like dairy, need to be aware of product movement and logistics in the context of heat risk.

He shared strategies to optimize weather-sensitive operations, including customizing risk profiles according to shipment-specific in-transit vulnerabilities.

Companies should assess and monitor conditions at facilities and across shipping lanes to pinpoint and mitigate significant weather risks, Davis says.

Meanwhile, Bailey and Plourd shared their outlook on other global dairy fundamentals.

According to Bailey, bearish fundamentals like a strong milk supply, lower demand for imports overseas and strong inventories of dairy products still weigh on the global dairy market. However, the market is “tracking towards balance.”

“Market sentiment appears to be improving on the back of tighter fundamentals,” he says.

Bailey notes China, which was a big importer of dairy in 2014 and has since backed off, is showing signs of working through inventories and is gradually rebalancing.

Plourd notes that looking at the dairy industry today, projected continued growth in Chinese imports two years ago led to an inventory build based on those expectations, and now dairy markets are in the process of working off that structural overcapacity.

“We have way too much of everything,” he says, adding that while issues like these tend to work themselves out, “we’re not there yet.” Many industries are dealing with over-capacity and “right-sizing” could still take time, he says.

He notes that “low prices tend to cure low prices,” citing the economics of energy markets. Cheaper gas prices have led to increased consumer spending in restaurants, and low prices drive promotion.

Plourd notes that while block Cheddar at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange over the past 52 weeks averaged $1.59 per pound, down 16 percent from the previous 52 weeks, 8-ounce chunk cheese promotion was up 25 percent, with prices down 5 percent.

An income divide still persists, however, he says. While investors continue to fare well, there are 22 U.S. million households still enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“While we do have this divide, the U.S. economy is in much better shape than people think it is, and this is good for demand,” he says.

Plourd notes initial jobless claims have dropped to their lowest level since 1973, and per capita income increased by 3.7 percent in 2015, the best showing since 2012 and above the 20-year rolling average.

Bailey notes global milk production growth is slowing, and demand is expected to continue “chugging along.”

At the same time, inventory levels are limiting upside potential for dairy markets, he adds.
“Recovery is low and slow,” he says.

Bailey says upside risks, such as Russia re-entering the market, coexist alongside downside risks, such as the continuation of production growth in post-quota Europe.

Still, Bailey says the market is finding its balance. Upside drivers include lower production in many regions, growing demand and an improving Chinese market.

Meanwhile, downside drivers include growing inventories in the United States and Europe, a strong U.S. dollar and general economic uncertainty, he adds.

While the market has the making for a slow price recovery, the U.S. dollar, inventories and ample supply limit upside potential, Bailey says.

He adds that when prices turn, they turn fast.

Plourd notes the same is true with industry trends, citing the exploding growth of cage-free eggs at retail over the past 10 years. The same pattern is likely for trends in dairy such as consumer demand for natural and organic products, he says.

“Natural and organic demand trends are not going away,” he says. “Once the ball gets rolling, it rolls hard and fast.”


Spain’s traditional cheeses
re-emerge on global market

April 29, 2016

Editor’s note: Passport to Cheese is Cheese Market News’ feature series exploring the dairy industries of nations around the world. Each month this series takes an in-depth look at various nations/regions’ dairy industries with coverage of their milk and cheese statistics and key issues affecting them. The nations’ interplay with the United States also is explored. This month we are pleased to introduce our latest region — Spain and Portugal.

By Rena Archwamety

MADISON, Wis. — Spain and Portugal are known for their flavorful cuisine, and their traditional cheeses reflect rich and varied landscapes. Sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses are common in many areas of this region, while Spain’s northern Asturias region leads the country in cow’s milk production and produces a wide variety of cow’s and mixed milk cheeses.

“It’s hard to speak in generalities about the Iberian peninsula, because the cheeses are very different from region to region,” says Walshe Birney, associate director of merchandising for New York-based Murray’s Cheese, which typically carries 20-25 different cheese varieties from Spain and Portugal.

“Most of Spain focuses primarily on sheep and some goat milk cheese production, with cow’s milk cheeses being produced on the north/northwest and eastern coast regions. It’s an incredibly mountainous country, so much of the interior is not good grazing land for cows,” Birney says. “In the west, in Portugal, they produce a number of fascinating thistle-rennet sheep’s milk cheeses; these are incredibly creamy, full of wild fruity flavors, and are unlike any other cheeses out there.”

Despite it being a mountainous region, compared to the rest of Europe, Spain is a large country with lots of open space where sheep, goats and cows roam and feed.

“They have a long tradition of allowing especially sheep to roam freely. There’s a medieval law that gives sheep the right of way, and shepherds drive them through the center of Madrid once a year,” says Jonathan Harris, owner of Williamsburg, Virginia-based La Tienda, an online business that sells about 40 varieties of Spanish cheeses direct to consumers. “A lot of the animals live outdoors, eating lots of herbs and grasses and ranging free. It adds a lot of local flavors to a lot of the cheeses.”

Cheese generally stands on its own in Spain and Portugal, eaten as an appetizer, hors d’oeuvre, breakfast or dessert alongside bread, fruit, membrillo (quince paste) and other accompaniments. It is not often used in traditional recipes, and consumption per-person is lower than in many other European countries.

Grupo Lactalis Iberia SA leads cheese sales in Spain with a value share of 15 percent in 2015, while Fromageries Bel Portugal leads the Portuguese cheese market with a 21-percent value share in 2015, according to Euromonitor International.

• Reviving tradition

Spain today is home to about 1,000 cheese producers, but as recently as the 1980s, many of its traditional cheeses were considered illegal and had to be produced in secret.

“Under the fascist regimes of the second half of the 20th century, artisan cheesemaking was basically suppressed and dairy producers were actually forced to focus only on meeting milk/commodity cheese quotas,” Birney explains. “Much of the rural, old cheeses were thought of as lost.”

The quotas were created in the mid-1960s under Francisco Franco’s government and lasted until the 1980s, after the country transitioned to a democracy. Enric Canut, an agricultural engineer and cheese and dairy consultant who works to promote Spain’s artisan cheeses, worked to survey the country’s farmstead and artisanal cheese production after the end of Franco’s reign and found that 25 percent of Spain’s cheese production at that time was illegal.

“In consequence, the government canceled the old regimentation of 1964 and (took steps to) legalize the small cheese producers,” Canut says. “After the cancellation, I worked in the recuperation of traditional cheeses. In 1984 we published with the agricultural ministry a new map with 48 Spanish cheeses. In 1990 we published a new Spanish cheeses catalog with the ag ministry with 82 cheeses. In 1996, I created the slogan and show, ‘Spain, the land of 100 cheeses.’”

Canut taught classes on cheesemaking throughout Spain and helped revive the artisan cheesemaking industry, even bringing back one Catalan goat’s milk variety — Garrotxa — that had all but disappeared by the 1980s.

This week, Canut showcased the “Spain, the land of 100 cheeses” campaign at Alimentaria, an international food and drink exposition in Barcelona, Spain. Now in its 20th year, the campaign focuses on the wide range of cheeses presented by Spanish dairy microenterprises.

“The big dairies are getting bigger, but the small cheesemakers are around the country and markets,” Canut says.

• Manchego and more

Spain’s most famous cheese is Manchego, a protected-origin designated (DOP) cheese made in the country’s La Mancha region from Manchega sheep’s milk. It is available in both young and aged varieties.

“We have different varieties of Manchego, from very young and creamy to over a year aged, which is more sharp and crumbly,” Harris says, adding that La Tienda takes great care in choosing the cheesemakers it works with. “Nowadays you can go to most grocery stores and buy a block of Manchego, but there’s a huge difference in the quality and intensity of flavor. Most of the time that cheese is made by a huge company focused on having the right price point, and their main goal is volume. We try to work with smaller companies really focused on quality.”

Both young and aged Manchego are best-sellers at Murray’s Cheese, but there also is interest in some of the more unique, regional cheeses, Birney says. Last year, Murray’s teamed up with Canut for a new program direct-importing very small-batch regional cheeses from Spain.

“We now have a very unique selection of lesser-known Spanish cheeses, which allows us to tell the stories of the myriad of Spanish traditions in a more effective way,” Birney says.

While various types of cheeses are produced all over Spain, one region known for its wide variety of cheese is the northern Asturias. This region nestled between the Cantabrian Sea and Cantabrian Mountains is known for its grazing pastures and is home to more than 40 types of cheese, including four DOP varieties.

Asturias is particularly known for Cabrales, a DOP mixed-milk Blue that is one of Spain’s most famous cheeses, according to José Gonzalez of Asturian cheese exporter Atlantica.

“Cabrales is the one most exported as it is the best known cheese from Asturias,” Gonzalez says. “It is exported to the U.S., UK, France, Mexico, Germany and Portugal as its main destinations, but it is known worldwide. The increase of demand is tied to the increase of awareness, and it is growing.”

Harris notes that he recently has noticed more Spanish cheeses with added flavors — dipped in wine, or rubbed with rosemary or Spain’s famous smoked pimentón (paprika). He says La Tienda’s customers most appreciate the variety of Spanish cheeses.

“You can have a great Idiazábal, a smoked aged sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque Country, to a completely different Galician Tetilla, a soft melting cheese,” he says, adding that people gradually are becoming familiar with more types of Spanish cheeses.

“When we started (20 years ago), Manchego wasn’t even as well known. Now people know some of the basics, but a lot of the cheeses still are not as well-known,” Harris says. “We have a couple of cheese samplers where we offer cheeses from different parts of Spain. It’s been a fun way to educate people.”

Like Spanish cheeses, Portuguese cheeses typically are made from sheep’s or goat’s milk and many are aromatic and strongly flavored. Online specialty food retailer notes that of the approximately 15 varieties of Portuguese cheese, many have been given DOP status, including Queijo de Nisa, a robust and earthy-flavored cheese made from the raw milk of Merino sheep.

• New cheeses, new frontiers

In 2015, the United States imported 23.9 million pounds of cheese from Spain and almost 1 million pounds of cheese from Portugal, according to U.S. Census Bureau trade data. Imports of Spanish cheeses have increased more than four-fold in the last 10 years.

Canut notes that the United States and European Union are the main export markets for Spanish cheeses.

“Now, almost 25 percent of Spanish cheese production is exported to other countries,” he says. “And the artisanal cheesemakers, they are creating new kinds of cheeses. It’s effervescent!”

Birney says Murray’s Cheese aims to include best-in-class cheeses from all of the important regions in Spain and then layers on smaller, more unique offerings that are rotated on a regular basis.

“As Spain is a very old and traditional cheesemaking region, you don’t see as many ‘new’ cheeses being produced as say, the United States, so you have to seek them out a bit more,” Birney says, adding that some of Spain’s tiny micro-creameries are now producing some fascinating cheeses.

“It’s a very exciting time, as within the last few years the landscape of what we’re seeing coming out of Spain and into the U.S. has really started changing,” he adds. “We’re excited that consumers can now enjoy the incredibly rich heritage of one of the most important cheesemaking countries in the world.”


U.S. cheese production in
2015 was 11.84 billion lbs.

April 29, 2016

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, in 2015 was 11.838 billion pounds, according to the most recently revised data released in USDA’s “Dairy Products 2015 Summary” released Thursday. This was a 2.8-percent increase over 2014’s 11.512 billion pounds.

USDA says there were 540 cheese plants in the United States in 2015, up from 536 plants in 2014.

Wisconsin, with 3.070 billion pounds, continues to be the nation’s leading cheese-producing state, accounting for 25.9 percent of the nation’s cheese production in 2015. California followed with 2.436 billion pounds.

The next four cheese-producing states in 2015 were Idaho with 941.7 million pounds, New York with 801.4 million pounds, New Mexico with 768.0 million pounds and Minnesota with 679.5 million pounds.

Italian varieties, with 5.09 billion pounds, were 2.8 percent above 2014 production and accounted for 43.0 percent of total cheese produced in the United States in 2015. Mozzarella accounted for 78.5 percent of the Italian production followed by Provolone with 7.5 percent and Parmesan with 6.7 percent, USDA says. California was the leading state in Italian-type cheese production with 30.7 percent of the category.

American-type cheese production totaled 4.69 billion pounds in 2015, 2.3 percent above 2014 and accounted for 39.7 percent of total U.S. cheese in 2015. Wisconsin was the leading state in American-type cheese production with 19.5 percent of the production, USDA says.

Butter production in the United States during 2015 totaled 1.858 billion pounds, 0.1 percent above 2014’s 1.855 billion pounds, according to USDA. California, with 580.5 million pounds, accounted for 31.2 percent of the nation’s butter production. Nationwide, there were 84 butter plants in 2015, up from 82 plants in 2014, the USDA report says.


USTR report looks at trade
barriers due to GI abuse

April 29, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently issued a report outlining the administration’s scope of activities aimed at combating the abuse of geographical indications (GIs) threatening the use of common food names.

USTR’s annual Special 301 Report identifies trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to the intellectual property policies, such as copyright, patents, trademarks and geographical indications in other countries.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) note that decades after parmesan, feta and asiago became household names in the United States, Europe now argues that these names and others can only appear on cheeses produced in Italy and Greece, thus blocking U.S. sales of the products in the European Union and increasingly affecting sales to various foreign markets. The U.S. government has been using a variety of tools to combat these types of barriers to U.S. exports, as well as to promote the importance of balanced and thorough due process procedures for the consideration of GIs.

Although much work remains underway, to date these efforts have yielded a number of results including last year’s agreement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on GI provisions and the announcement earlier this year of a breakthrough on GI issues with Honduras.

“U.S. dairy exporters believe it is critical for USTR to maintain a strong focus on the importance of firmly rejecting barriers to U.S. products driven by our competitors’ desires to use GIs to monopolize the use of common food names around the world,” says Tom Suber, USDEC president. “This year’s Special 301 Report rightly spotlights some of the progress being made in addressing this challenge. At the same time, much work remains, including ensuring that TPP partners fully abide by the intention of TPP GI commitments and that the EU reforms the flaws in its own GI policies that negatively impact the rights of common name users.”

The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), an international alliance dedicated to preserving rights to use common food names, says it will continue working with USTR on GIs.

“USTR’s robust defense of common food name users — and the rights of buyers to maintain a variety of sources for common food categories — is particularly valuable at this point in time when the EU is seeking to replicate here in the U.S. market its harmful pattern of using its FTAs to impose GI policies aimed at restricting trade and competition,” says Jaime Castaneda, executive director, CCFN.

As the U.S. dairy industry gears up to compete globally, officials must continue to confront these issues, says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF.

“It’s vitally important that U.S. trade policy reject the EU’s attempts to slam doors shut in areas in which we are increasingly competing head to head against their producers,” Mulhern says. “The barriers to our products are the result of deeply problematic EU GI policies that give short shrift to the rights of common name users.”


Sage Marketing celebrates 25 years

By Kate Sander

SONOMA, Calif. — As people in the dairy industry know, cheese and related businesses can be fun places to make a career. Talk to very many people and you’ll find two common scenarios — they were either raised in the food business or stumbled into it early on and never left. Either way, the camaraderie and relationships in the dairy industry are often mentioned as reasons to stay in the business.

Gary Edwards, owner of Sage Marketing based in Sonoma, California, is one of those people who started out in the food business young, growing apples and raising cows as 4-H projects in Sebastopol, California, and then working in a small grocery store in Santa Rosa, California, as a teen.

That started him on a path of friends and connections he hasn’t left, although he himself will say his career at times has been “crazy” as it has twisted and turned through the industry.

As an adult Edwards began selling cheese in 1983 for Otto Roth & Co., which was eventually purchased by General Mills. He was promoted to regional manager of the business in Boston, then promoted with a move to Chicago. When he was offered a position in the Los Angeles area as a regional manager of 17 western states, he jumped at the chance to get back to the West Coast. There he grew the business from $2.3 to $13.1 million in specialty cheese sales.

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Experts examine best practices
for anti-caking agents in cheese

April 22, 2016

By Rena Archwamety and Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — With recent media attention focused on the use of cellulose in cheese, industry stakeholders are working to separate science from sensationalism and educate the industry on the proper use of anti-caking agents in cheesemaking.

An article published by Bloomberg Business in February claimed that cellulose — typically used as an anti-caking agent in grated and shredded cheeses and other foods — was being used in high levels in certain grated Parmesan products, suggesting manufacturers were bulking their products to lower costs. Following this coverage, major brands including Kraft Heinz Foods Co. as well as retailers including Wal-Mart have faced lawsuits over cellulose levels in their grated cheese products. In addition, the Bloomberg article sparked a slew of other stories in the media with sensational “wood in your cheese” headlines that had consumers worried about the content and safety of the cheeses they buy. (See “Lawsuits brought against Kraft Heinz, Wal-Mart over ‘wood in cheese’ concerns” in the Feb. 26, 2016, issue of Cheese Market News and “Wood in cheese media frenzy spotlights fraud” in the Feb. 19, 2016, issue of Cheese Market News.)

Responses from the cheese and ingredient industries have varied, from efforts to communicate and ensure the safety of cellulose and other ingredients, to fears that consumers may reject the use of cellulose altogether.

• The science of cellulose

In a presentation last week at the International Cheese Technology Expo in Milwaukee, Jon Bodner, vice president of food technology at Sweetener Supply Corp., Brookfield, Illinois, discussed the use and limits of anti-caking agents for shredded and grated cheese. Sweetener Supply Corp. owns Ridgeland Fiber, which produces powdered cellulose.

Bodner notes that like many ingredients that have been attacked in the past, recent media reports have cast some doubts on the safety and use of powdered cellulose in grated cheese and other food products.

“As this type of reporting continues, it is important to separate the science from the sensationalized reporting and proactively communicate these facts to media and consumer groups,” Bodner says.

Bodner notes there is concern about one of the sources of cellulose being trees, but he notes there are many common food items that also are sourced from parts of trees, including tree nuts, fruits, tea, maple syrup and coffee.

The trees commonly used to produce cellulose are specifically grown in sustainably-certified forests, he adds.

“Unlike common crops such as corn, soybeans, etc., these forests don’t use large amounts of fossil fuels for cultivation, they don’t use GMO seeds, they don’t use pesticides and they provide a habitat for wildlife,” Bodner says. “A common misconception is that cellulose is a low-cost filler. In fact, it is much more expensive than other common carbohydrate sources like flour, sugars and starches. It is used in many products for its unique functional and nutritional properties and safety.”

Dean Sommer, cheese and food technologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Dairy Research (CDR), says he has not seen manufacturers moving away from using cellulose as a result of the media coverage, and he wouldn’t advise them to do so.

“It kind of took a public perception hit, but it wasn’t deserved,” he says. “There’s noting wrong with cellulose. It’s the premier anti-caking agent. We all eat cellulose in plant fiber. It’s really a primo product.”

Sommer says the real issue isn’t whether cellulose is good or bad, but whether the appropriate amount is being used to prevent clumping.

“Anti-caking agents have a long and safe history. They are needed to prevent unwanted clumping of shreds, but they should only be used for their purpose and not as a bulking agent,” he says. “Plant-based diets are going to have cellulose from plants.”

Solvaira Specialties, the brand representing the recent merger of International Fiber Corp., Allied Blending & Ingredients and Fibred-Maryland Inc., offers a complete range of cellulose products as well as starch-based functional blends that deliver a wide range of anti-caking functionality.

“As a reaction to the negative press, we had a lot of companies ask for other types of cellulose,” says John Fannon, Solvaira’s executive vice president, research and development.

Some companies preferred plant-based ingredients over tree-based, which is the source of the vast majority of cellulose-based anti-caking agents. Sugar beet fiber and sugar cane fiber, for example, are considered by some customers to be more label-friendly.

Terry Anderson, Solvaira’s executive vice president, food and functional ingredients, says this is not the first time cellulose has come under scrutiny, and he believes it will be short-lived.

“Cellulose has been around a long time. This sort of media exposure is not new,” he says. “It tends to get attention, and then people realize cellulose is a safe and very ubiquitous ingredient. Even if it’s not powdered cellulose, cellulose is a primary component of every plant-based food, like salads, etc.”

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) explains that cellulose is a plant fiber that serves as a natural building block for all plant cells. It is made of long chains of sugar (glucose) molecules that cannot be digested, so it moves through the digestive system without being absorbed by the body and is a major source of fiber in human diets. Cellulose can be used as added fiber, moisture controllers, thickeners and stabilizers. It also is sometimes used in lowfat foods to create a smooth, creamy texture.

Cellulose is used in small amounts in shredded and grated cheese to control moisture and prevent clumping, IDFA says, allowing it to be easily poured or spread over foods.

• Other anti-caking options

Dr. Mali Reddy, president of Denver-based American Dairy and Food Consulting Laboratories and International Media and Cultures (IMAC Inc.), notes that anti-caking agents are added to cheese after it is shredded or grated by the processor.

In addition to cellulose, other common anti-caking solutions for cheeses include potato and corn starch. IMAC offers anti-caking blends that include cellulose as well as corn, rice or potato starches. Reddy says all the company’s anti-caking powders are spray-dried and hypo-allergenized to provide the safest and highest-quality product.

Reddy adds that potato starch is popular right now, but he believes corn starch is the best alternative to cellulose as it is readily-abundant in the United States, comparable in price and less allergenic than potato starch.

Potato and other starches have been used for a number of years as anti-caking agents, Sommer notes.

“A lot of times people will use blends of cellulose and potato starch. This offers different functionalities,” Sommer says. “For example in Mozzarella, it will impact how cheese performs during pizza baking, including how it dries out the surface, melts and browns.”

Fannon notes that starches become translucent after application, which makes it a more aesthetically-pleasing product for retail cheeses, while cellulose doesn’t cause browning, making it the preferred choice for many foodservice applications.

“The use of starches allows you to customize to whatever your end-product characteristics are,” Anderson says. “Starch blends tend to fit best in applications where customer’ visual perception of the cheese product is critical. It flows from the package nicely, and you don’t see the anti-cake particles on the cheese.”

Potato starch is quickly becoming the preferred ingredient for anti-caking in the United States, either on its own or as the main component in an anti-cake blend, according to Agropur Ingredients, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

“Cellulose is one of the original anti-caking agents, but over time starch blends, using potato and corn, became the go-to option for cheese shredding,” says Cole Johnson, cheese ingredients sales manager, Agropur Ingredients. “These blends are more economical and offer reduced visibility on shreds. Today the majority of cheesemakers and cheese converters we see are using starch blends that may include a small inclusion of cellulose, along with mold inhibitors and/or oxygen reducing enzymes.”

Cole notes that Agropur Ingredients has developed new flavored Capstone anti-caking varieties that offer solutions for customers without affecting the cheese make or the whey stream. It also continues to adapt its anti-caking agents to accommodate ever-changing package formats and high-speed lines.

In addition to powdered cellulose, Sweetener Supply offers Ridgeland anti-caking blends which are custom-formulated to meet companies’ flow, shelf life and cost requirements. Starches like potatoes and corn are more dense and absorb less water in their uncooked state, but cellulose has a relatively low density and covers a large surface area relative to weight, Bodner says.

“In general, a higher level of starch must be added to achieve the same level of anti-cake functionality in grated and shredded cheese,” he adds.

Earlier this month, Solvaira Specialties introduced a new patent-pending dairy-based anti-caking technology under the trademark Flo Am Dairy. This new line combines traditional anti-caking ingredients with dairy product solids such as whey derivatives that can be customized to deliver an optimum solution for its customers. The company also currently is developing and testing all-dairy options.

“In more recent years, customers increasingly have requested cleaner, more label-friendly products, in response to consumer preferences. These trends are the key reasons why we introduced dairy ingredients to anti-caking,” Anderson says. “It was a very big introduction for us. Numerous customers have requested trials, and we think it will be very significant going forward.”

• FDA regulations

The controversy that arose earlier this year over the use of cellulose in grated Parmesan started with the discovery that some products contained high levels of cellulose — as much as 10 percent, one lawsuit alleges — prompting consumers to fear that companies were selling them sawdust labeled as “cheese.”

Reddy says this was a clear abuse of the product, causing irreparable damage to the reputation of the cheese industry and its use of cellulose.

“Consumers are now saying they don’t want cellulose. Cellulose now has a stigma,” he says. “It’s not that people will get hurt by it, but they misused it. People say, ‘there’s no nutrition value in this. Why are you feeding me wood bark?”

If 10 percent is clearly too much for an anti-caking agent, what is the allowable limit? There is not an exact number, but FDA does set some guidelines.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains information on the requirements for specific standardized cheeses, including “optional ingredients” that may be added to products that are prepared by grating, grinding and shredding one or more varieties of cheese, says Cary Frye, vice president of regulatory & scientific affairs, IDFA.

“Anti-caking agents are permitted as one of these ‘optional ingredients’ for grated cheese,” Frye says. “Therefore, cellulose and other ingredients such as potato starch and cellulose blends are allowed in grated and shredded cheese.”

She adds that although there is no specific limit for the amount of anti-caking agents listed in the grated cheese standard, they can only be used up to the amount needed to achieve the function and technical effect of anti-caking. Some products may require more anti-caking agents than others, depending on the moisture and fat content of the cheese.

While no direct limits are given, indirect limits are built into the 21 CFR 133.146. The code states that the milkfat content of the grated cheese cannot be more than 1 percent lower than the minimum prescribed by the standard of identity for that cheese, Bodner says.

“Parmesan cheese listed in the USDA table has a typical moisture content of 29.16 percent and a fat content of 25.83 percent,” Bodner says. “Using the method described in (the CFR), the milkfat in solids of this typical Parmesan cheese is calculated to be 36.5 percent.”

Bodner notes that, theoretically, this leaves 5.5 percent available for the optional ingredients, which includes antimycotics (mold inhibitors), anti-caking agents (cellulose and starch), spices and flavorings.

“That said, the actual milkfat in solids content of the starting cheese would need to be known and controlled to determine the actual level of optional ingredients that could be added to a specific grated cheese while maintaining regulatory compliance,” he says. “A lower milkfat in solids level in the starting cheese could significantly limit the amount of optional ingredients that could be added.”

For example, starting with a lower-end 32 percent in solids milkfat Parmesan block, the optional ingredients, including the anti-caking agent for grated cheese, would be limited to 1 percent, Bodner says.

Further, verification for regulatory compliance with 21 CFR 133.146 Grated Cheese is based on the minimum milkfat content of the cheese and not on the absolute level of optional ingredients, including anti-caking agents, he adds.

In a recently-published white paper, Agropur Ingredients notes that cellulose has a recommended maximum usage rate of 2 percent or less of a finished product before it becomes visible and changes the mouthfeel of shredded cheese. Recommendations for potato starch range from 2-4 percent.

Frye says IDFA is providing information to cheese processors with easy-to-understand information for consumers who inquire about the use of cellulose in cheese. IDFA has stated that all cheese, including grated Parmesan, must adhere to FDA’s standards of identity.

“Cheese companies that grate and shred cheese should work with their ingredient supplier to determine optimal functional and technical levels of anti-caking based on the cheese composition, type of shred and grating, packaging, storage and customer usage requirements,” Frye says.


Post-hearing briefs submitted
for California FMMO proposal

April 22, 2016

WASHINGTON — Post-hearing briefs have been filed following a hearing last fall to consider proposals to establish a federal milk marketing order (FMMO) for the state of California.

The hearing, held in September in Clovis, California, was called in response to an initial proposal submitted by three California dairy cooperatives — California Dairies Inc. (CDI), Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Land O’Lakes. (For more details on the cooperatives’ proposal, see “U.S. dairy industry reacts to idea of California federal order” in the Feb. 13, 2015, issue of Cheese Market News.)

Additional proposals then were submitted by the Dairy Institute of California, California Producer Handler Association (CPHA) and Ponderosa Dairy. (For more details on the additional proposals, see “California dairy groups, milk supplier file FMMO proposals” in the April 17, 2015, issue of Cheese Market News.)

In its brief, CDI, DFA and Land O’Lakes note the failure of California regulations to establish minimum prices for California producers which reflect national values for classified milk uses has cost California dairy farmers more than $1.5 billion since 2010.

“The milk marketing system in California has been failing for some time now. After trying to restore order to the system through other methods, and being repeatedly rebuffed at each attempt, California dairy producers have now invoked their congressionally granted right to petition the Secretary of Agriculture to intervene and issue an FMMO covering California,” the cooperatives say. “A California FMMO is necessary in order for California dairy producers to obtain the full nationally defined value for all uses of milk produced in the state.”

The cooperatives, which collectively represent 75 percent of the milk production in California, say their proposal for a California FMMO will not only enhance producer income, it also will address long-standing disorderly marketing conditions.

“The near unanimous support for (the cooperatives’ proposal) by all producer segments of the California dairy industry is unprecedented,” they add. “Not one California producer organization voice was heard in opposition. The producers have spoken, and they want and need a California FMMO.”

The California system worked reasonably well for many years, protecting the interests of dairy farmers, handlers and consumers alike, the cooperatives say, noting that in recent years, however, the system has become dysfunctional.

In recent years, California minimum producer prices, particularly those for milk used to produce cheese, have diverged sharply from the nationally uniform prices established by the nation’s FMMOs, they say. This divergence significantly contributed to the inability of California’s minimum prices to cover the costs of production.

“The resulting dysfunction has caused economic stresses that accelerated the flight of producers from dairy farming and the conversion of dairy farm land,” the cooperatives say.

“The failure of California’s system to regulate out-of-state milk shipped to California plants due to interstate commerce clause concerns exacerbated the frustration of California’s dairy farmers,” they add. “The dairy farmers’ multiple efforts to seek redress from the price discrepancies were usually rebuffed, in whole or in part, by the secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, save a temporary and inadequate one-year adjustment in the Class 4b price for milk utilized for cheese, effective Aug. 1, 2015. However, this temporary, limited-scope fix is not enough to repair the dysfunction in California’s milk marketing system, and California producers must turn to their congressionally granted right to petition the Secretary for a California FMMO.”

The cooperatives note their proposal also allows non-California producers to participate in the California FMMO pool values without their return being diminished by the California quota program.

“The proposal provides a robust transportation credit program, applicable to milk from all locations, supporting the movement of milk for the higher-valued Class I and II uses from high production areas to high demand areas, thereby sharing the cost of supplying the pooled Class I and II values,” they say.

Meanwhile, the Dairy Institute of California, representing processors, says record evidence fails to demonstrate that there are actual disorderly marketing conditions justifying federal intervention in California milk pricing.

“The proponent cooperatives pretend to seek a FMMO for California. In fact, the cooperatives, relying solely on a recent congressional enactment, want USDA to adopt a unique FMMO relying almost exclusively on the existing California state order’s (CSO) novel provisions while replacing CSO price formulas with existing, out-of-date, and overvalued FMMO price formulas,” Dairy Institute says.

“The cooperatives’ principal and precipitating focus on minimum regulated price differences between California and FMMOs is not linked to any actual marketing conditions or competitive harm that is disorderly,” Dairy Institute says.

Dairy Institute maintains that USDA should, if it proposes any FMMO for California, propose an order that has the look, feel and operational similarities of existing FMMOs, subject to updated pricing models.

Should the evidence lead USDA to propose an FMMO for California, Dairy Institute urges USDA to adopt an FMMO with the following elements: performance-based pooling standards; voluntary pooling of manufactured milk; revised and updated FMMO pricing that recognizes 2015 economics and weaknesses in the pricing of whey; economically justified, if any, Class differentials; a realistic application of shrinkage rules to extended shelf life facilities; and a sunset or revision to quota that holds out-of-state milk harmless.

“To the extent the Dairy Institute proposal results in differences in provisions from traditional FMMOs, these differences largely result from the fact that this is a promulgation order hearing in which USDA must consider current marketing conditions in California,” the institute says. “The existing FMMOs have been largely left unchanged since USDA adopted an overhaul in 1999 based upon 1996 and earlier data.”

In its brief, CPHA notes its proposal supports the implementation of a California FMMO as proposed during the course of the hearing by the three cooperatives, but also seeks to preserve CPHA’s exempt quota with the rest of the quota system. Specifically,the cooperatives’ proposal would preserve regular quota while CPHA proposes to preserve exempt quota along with regular quota in any California FMMO.

“All of the facts and legal arguments for preserving regular quota apply equally to preserving exempt quota,” CPHA says.

Ponderosa Dairy notes that both the cooperatives’ proposal and the proposal from Dairy Institute would require out-of-state producers to accept the blend price of a California FMMO, rather than the plant blend price that out-of-state producers currently receive.

“Because of California’s unique quota program paying out-of-state producers the blend price (the pool blend less quota premiums and other costs), the out-of-state producer payments would be reduced by the premium payments made to quota holders even though the out-of-state producers would not have the opportunity to participate in the quota system program,” Ponderosa Dairy says. “Out-of-state producers would not be able to participate in the transportation benefits or fortification allowances, either. The only justification for this disparate treatment is that the producers are outside the California state borders.”

Ponderosa Dairy notes that during the fall hearing before USDA, both the cooperatives and Dairy Institute seemed to soften in their approach, allowing out-of-state producers to participate in transportation and fortification benefits.

However, the proposals still fall short because neither has a remedy for the out-of-state producer not being able to participate in the quota system, Ponderosa Dairy says.

“Even with these modifications to their proposals, the disparate prices paid to out-of-state producers without the ability to participate in the premium quota payments cannot be remedied,” Ponderosa Dairy says. “If an FMMO is implemented in California, the only way to treat out-of-state producers fairly is to allow them to receive the plant blend price for milk delivered into California.”

Ponderosa notes its proposal is based in large part upon this concern for disparate treatment of out-of-state producers. Its proposal accomplishes the adoption of a lawful FMMO as well as the fair treatment of out-of-state producers that have invested substantial resources in facilities to sell milk into California, the dairy says.

“There simply is no easy way to allow out-of- state producers to participate in the quota system. The only way to treat out-of-state producers equally and fairly, and to make up for the lack of ability to participate in quota premium payments, is to allow for out-of-state producers to negotiate their own price with handlers and receive what amounts to the plant blend price,” Ponderosa Dairy says.

Ponderosa Dairy says it urges the agriculture secretary to incorporate the substance of its proposal in any California FMMO in order to allow out-of-state producers to receive the plant blend price and avoid any discriminatory treatment to out-of-state producers.

Briefs also were submitted by Dean Foods Co., HP Hood LLC, Hilmar Cheese Co., Leprino Foods Co., Maine Dairy Industry Association, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, National All-Jersey Inc., Northwest Dairy Association, Select Milk Producers Inc. and Trihope Dairy Farms.

Reply briefs on the posted post-hearing briefs are due May 16.

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March milk production up
1.8 percent from year ago

April 22, 2016

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 23 major milk-producing states during March totaled 17.22 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from March 2015, 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.)

February revised milk production, at 15.82 billion pounds in the 23 major states, was up 4.6 percent from February 2015. The February revision represents an increase of 4 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate. Adjusting February production for the additional day due to leap year causes February revised production to be up 1.0 percent on a per-day basis, NASS says.

Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 1,993 pounds for March, 31 pounds above March 2015. This is the highest production per cow for the month of March since the 23-state series began in 2003, NASS says.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.64 million head in March, NASS reports, 19,000 head more than March 2015 and 9,000 head more than February 2016.

For the entire United States, March milk production is estimated at 18.41 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from a year earlier. Production per cow averaged 1,974 pounds, 32 pounds more than a year earlier. NASS reports there were 9.33 million milk cows on U.S. farms in March, 14,000 head more than March 2015 and 10,000 head more than February 2016.

California, the nation’s largest milk-producing state, saw production decline 2.4 percent in the March-to-March comparison to 3.61 billion pounds. The decline was driven by both a drop in cow numbers and a drop in production per cow. Production per cow in California in March averaged 2,035 pounds, down 45 pounds from a year earlier. There were 1.77 million cows in California in March, NASS reports, down 5,000 head from a year earlier and unchanged from a month earlier.

Wisconsin followed with 2.56 billion pounds of milk produced in March, a 5.3-percent increase from March 2015. Production per cow in Wisconsin averaged 2,000 pounds in March, up 95 pounds from March 2015. Wisconsin was home to 1.28 million milk cows in March, NASS says, up 4,000 head from a year earlier and unchanged from February 2016.


Raw milk bills pass in Louisiana,
die in Wisconsin

April 22, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana’s Senate this week passed a bill to legalize on-farm sales of raw milk by a vote of 23 to 12. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, would allow dairy farmers to sell raw milk and raw milk products to consumers on the farm where the milk and milk products are produced. Current Louisiana law generally prohibits the sale of raw milk and raw milk products.

The bill also would exempt certain dairy farmers from licensing and Grade A permitting requirements under current law and exempt them from state rules regarding dairy farm and plant operation and the testing and quality of milk and milk products. The proposed law would require a warning label on raw milk sold for human consumption as well as a number of separate testing and sanitation requirements.

Last week, Wisconsin’s Senate and Assembly both rejected bills that would have allowed on-farm sales of raw milk and dairy products directly to consumers.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) notes that it encouraged Wisconsin legislators to oppose the introduction of these bills last November, and earlier this week it sent a letter to the Louisiana Senate urging legislators to oppose the bill that ultimately was passed.

IDFA says it will continue efforts to push back against state laws that would make it easier for consumers to buy raw milk.


Industry looks at consistency,
quality in cheese conversion

April 15, 2016

By Alyssa Mitchell

MILWAUKEE — From moisture control to acid development to ideal functionality, cheese converters face challenges in striving for consistency in product quality when converting to slices, shreds and other formats.

In a session Wednesday during the International Cheese Technology Expo in Milwaukee, “A Converter’s Dream: Cheese Quality for the End User,” staff from the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and Sargento Foods shared challenges and potential solutions for ensuring a consistent quality product, even in large-scale production.

• Converter’s conundrum

David Wentz, supply quality manager-dairy at Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, shared challenges converters face from flavor to machinability.

Wentz says Sargento has a proactive approach and licensed graders at all of its facilities. The company also has a cheese supplier approval program focused largely on food safety but also to show suppliers what function their cheese will go into, whether it is slicing or shredding.

Wentz notes some common defects seen in cheese include moisture migration — seen most often in 640-pound blocks and a little bit in 40-pound blocks; acid spots; and cracks, slits and “open body” issues, which can be caused by damage during transportation and can increase trim and inefficiencies in conversion.

“When there is a cheese we are unable to convert, the amount of trim on these cheeses contributes to inefficiencies and downtime,” he says.

On one slice line at Sargento in 2015, there were 100 hours of downtime due to conversion issues, he adds.

However, he notes at times cheeses that do not work for one application, such as slicing, may work for another, such as stick or shred.

• Milk fortification

John Jaeggi, cheese industry and applications coordinator, CDR, provided attendees a closer look at the impact of milk fortification on cheese manufacturing. CDR has done work on milk fortification, using different streams to standardize milk to try to optimize cheese performance, flavor and texture, he notes.

Jaeggi notes appearance, flavor, texture and functionality are some of the main product consistency priorities graders, converters and customers are looking for — and the order of importance depends on to whom the cheese is being sold.

“As manufacturers, we need to keep in mind who our end user is,” he says.

Consistency starts with the milk in the vat, Jaeggi says.

He says seasonality can have a significant impact on moisture and other component levels in cheesemilk, and the industry is looking at ways to achieve greater consistency.

Looking at standardization methods, one longtime method is cream removal, Jaeggi notes. Nonfat dry milk (NDM) also can be used to standardize cheeses like Mozzarella and Cheddar. Meanwhile, reverse osmosis (RO) removes water while other elements become more concentrated.

Ultrafiltration is a more recent strategy being utilized mostly by larger plants, Jaeggi notes. It can result in fewer lactose concerns.

“As cheese converters and cheesemakers, we like to look at lactic acid levels, and this gives you a general idea if you are headed into a trouble zone,” he says.

Ultrafiltration can increase cheese yield/plant throughput, decrease fixed operational costs and provide better pH control/lactose compared to NDM or RO, Jaeggi says.

Ultrafiltration can move the window of flavor and functionality as well, he adds.

Other options may include adjustments to starter cultures and rennet levels, the addition of calcium chloride — typically not needed with ultrafiltered milk — and curd salting.

• ‘The Big Cheese’ — 640s

Converters like to work with 640-pound blocks since they yield less trim, require less handling and result in less material waste — but manufacturing 640-pound blocks comes with its own set of challenges, notes Dean Sommer, cheese and food technologist, CDR.

One issue is lack of knit/open body, which can be caused when the curd pH or salt levels are too high, curd temperatures are too low, there is excessive pressing of blocks, or too little vacuum time or lack of vacuum depth.

“You need more vacuum time with more depth for 640s,” Sommer says.

He notes excessive pressing of blocks initially can trap air inside the block, which results in the lack of knit within that block.

Moisture migration in 640-pound blocks is another major issue, Sommer notes. There can be a 1-6 percent differential in moisture between the center and exterior of the block. This can make it challenging to get an accurate representative sample from a block, he says.

Moisture variations can be caused by temperature variations in the block, as well as rapid exterior cooling and slower interior cooling, Sommer says. This could potentially be mitigated by delaying initial cooling of blocks to allow cheese to equilibrate — but many manufacturers may find it challenging to find space for this, he adds.

The box material for these blocks also has an impact, Sommer says. Wood is generally best for insulation compared to stainless steel, with plastic falling somewhere in between those two materials, he says.

Other strategies to minimize free moisture migration include developing more acid and lower pH prior to renneting; preacidification; use of conventional starters vs. pH-controlled starters; and reduction of lactose content in cheesemilk using ultrafiltration.

“We need to work with the laws of biology, physics and microbiology, and use some of the latest technology like lactose reduction through membrane processing to achieve the highest uniformity and quality of cheese possible,” Sommer says. “This is a challenge for our industry, but I think we can make strides to improve this.”


World Championship Cheese
auction bids raise $197,110

April 15, 2016

MILWAUKEE — Bidders raised $197,110 Wednesday evening during the World Championship Cheese Contest auction, held during this week’s International Cheese Technology Expo (ICTE) in Milwaukee.

The auction is part of the biennial ICTE, hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR), and funds raised go toward scholarships, education programs and industry support provided by WCMA.

Each item for bid at the auction placed first in its class at the World Championship Cheese Contest, held last month at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin. Some of the award winners were combined into one category for bid.

T.C. Jacoby & Co., St. Louis, placed the winning bid on the 2016 World Champion, 18 pounds of Roth Grand Cru Surchoix made by Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, Wisconsin. T.C. Jacoby’s bid of $775 per pound for a total of $13,950 was the second-highest bid of the evening. The highest bid of the night went to DSM Food Specialties USA, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, for $150 per pound on 100 pounds of a combined lot of cheeses made by Southwest Cheese LLC, Clovis, New Mexico, for a total of $15,000.

“It’s so great to have a U.S. winner again in the world contest,” says John Umhoefer, executive director, WCMA. “A $775-per-pound bid to finish it off could be the highest-winning bid for a world champion in a generation.”

All winning bids for top cheeses from the contest included:

• Item 1: Guggisberg Gold — Cherney Microbiological Services, Green Bay, Wisconsin, purchased a 200-pound Swiss block made by Guggisberg Cheese, Millersburg, Ohio, for $45 per pound or a total of $9,000.

• Item 2: Zimmerman’s Zenith — Separators Inc., Indianapolis, purchased 6 pounds of Brick made by Zimmerman Cheese, South Wayne, Indiana, for $320 per pound or a total of $1,920.

• Item 3: Agropur’s A-List — R. Mueller Service and Equipment Co., Monroe, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 50 pounds of Cheddar, cut from 640, Feta and Feta with peppercorn made by Agropur, Weyauwega, Wisconsin, and Colored Cheddar/Monterey Jack Shred Blend made by Jerome Cheese Co., Jerome, Idaho, for $200 per pound or a total of $10,000.

• Item 4: Awesome Austrian — GEA, Hudson, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 18 pounds of Arzberger Aurum made by Almenland Stollenkaese GmbH, Passail, Austria, and Schärdinger Dolce Bianca made by Berglandmilch eGen Weis, Oberösterreich, Austria, for $110 per pound or a total of $1,980.

• Item 5: Heavenly Henning — R. Mueller Service and Equipment Co., Monroe, Wisconsin, purchased 20 pounds of Three-Year-Old Bandaged Cheddar made by Henning’s Cheese, Kiel, Wisconsin, for $220 per pound or a total of $4,400.

• Item 6: A-M-P-I Like It — Nelson-Jameson, Marshfield, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 47 pounds of Colby/Jack made by Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), Jim Falls, Wisconsin, and American Swiss Pasteurized Process Cheese Slices made by AMPI, Portage, Wisconsin, for $130 per pound or a total of $6,110.

• Item 7: Surefire Schuman’s — D.R. Tech Inc., Grantsburg, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 48 pounds of Cello Riserva Artisan Reserve Parmesan Wheel, Lake Country Dairy Organic Asiago, Montforte Gorgonzola Wheel and Cello Whisps made by Arthur Schuman Inc., Fairfield, New Jersey, for $240 per pound or a total of $11,520.

• Item 8: Baker’s Best — Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, purchased 10 pounds of String with Jalapeno Peppers made by Baker Cheese Factory Inc., St. Cloud, Wisconsin, for $440 per pound or a total of $4,400.

• Item 9: Great Gallo — GEA, Hudson, Wisconsin, purchased 40 pounds of Pepper Jack Cheese made by Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, California, for $65 per pound or a total of $2,600.

• Item 10: Agropur Master Mozz — Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 33 pounds of Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella made by Agropur, Luxemburg, Wisconsin, and Lite Mozzarella made by Lake Norden Cheese Co., Lake Norden, South Dakota, for $165 per pound or a total of $5,445.

• Item 11: Attaboy Arena — Commodity Risk Management Group, Platteville, Wisconsin, purchased 6 pounds of Colby Deli Longhorn made by Arena Cheese, Arena Wisconsin, for $310 per pound or a total of $1,860.

• Item 12: Best Of Spain — Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 18 pounds of Fundador Curado made by ILBESA, Benavente, Zamora, Spain; and Pejarete Gran Reserva and Pajarete Curado de Cabra y Oveja made by Lopicomo S.L., Villamartin, Spain, for $80 per pound or a total of $1,440.

• Item 13: Amazing Arla — GEA, Hudson, Wisconsin, purchased 9 pounds of Havarti Loaf made by Arla Foods, Kaukauna, Wisconsin, for $235 per pound or a total of $2,115.

• Item 14: Bella BelGioioso — GEA, Hudson, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 6 pounds of BelGioioso Ricotta con Latte Whole Milk, BelGioioso Burrata and BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella Prosciutto Basil Roll made by BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay, Wisconsin, for $525 per pound or a total of $3,150.

• Item 15: Second Runner Up! — Great Lakes Cheese Co., Hiram, Ohio, purchased 24 pounds of North-Holland BOB Special Old Extra made by FrieslandCampina Export, Wolvega, Friesland, Netherlands, for $200 per pound or a total of $4,800.

• Item 16: Peerless Biery — Loos Machine & Automation Inc., Colby, Wisconsin, purchased 10 pounds of Pasteurized Process Bacon Cheddar made by Biery Cheese Co., Louisville, Ohio, for $80 per pound or a total of $800.

• Item 17: Mighty Marieke — ProActive Solutions USA, Green Bay, Wisconsin, purchased 20 pounds of Marieke Gouda Caraway made by Holland’s Family Cheese, Thorp, Wisconsin, for $65 per pound or a total of $1,300.

• Item 18: Cabot — Grab It! — DSM Food Specialties USA, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, purchased 42 pounds of Vermont Sharp Cheddar made by Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Cabot, Vermont, for $115 per pound or a total of $4,830.

• Item 19: Klondike Gold — Dairy Connection Inc., Madison, Wisconsin, purchased 3 pounds of Dill Havarti made by Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Wisconsin, for $525 per pound or a total of $4,725.

• Item 20: Carr Valley Stars — Andritz Separation, Graz, Austria, purchased a combined 23 pounds of Swiss Almond Cold Pack Spread, Sweet Vanilla Cardona and Canaria made by Carr Valley Cheese Co. Inc., LaValle, Wisconsin, for $200 per pound or a total of $4,600.

• Item 21: Old Europe’s New Win — Cheese Market News, Madison, Wisconsin, purchased 7 pounds of Natural Smoked Gouda made by Old Europe Cheese Inc., Benton Harbor, Michigan, for $350 per pound or a total of $2,450.

• Item 22: Master’s Masters — V&V Supremo Foods, Browntown, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 42 pounds of Land O’Lakes Kiel Aged Cheddar and Harris Teeter Shredded Mozzarella Provolone with Spice Blend, both entered by Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, for $290 per pound or a total of $12,180.

• Item 23: California Kings — Cargill, Minneapolis, purchased a combined 9 pounds of Real Cream Cheese, Salted Butter and Unsalted Butter made by California Dairies Inc., Visalia, California, for $125 per pound or a total of $1,125.

• Item 24: Lactalis Lovelies — GEA, Hudson, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 13 pounds of Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella made by Lactalis American Group, Buffalo, New York, and Président Wee Brie Cheese Spread made by Lactalis American Group, Merrill, Wisconsin, for $265 per pound or a total of $3,445.

• Item 25: Pine River Perfect — Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese, Kaukauna, Wisconsin, purchased 10 pounds of Swiss & Almond Cold Pack Cheese Food made by Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Wisconsin, for $550 per pound or a total of $5,500.

• Item 26: Southwest Is Best — DSM Food Specialties USA, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 100 pounds of Asiago Southwest, Pepper Jack, Habanero Jack, Southwest Reserve and Habanero Cheddar made by Southwest Cheese LLC, Clovis, New Mexico, for $100 per pound or a total of $15,000.

• Item 27: W&W Wins — Prolamina, Neenah, Wisconsin, purchased 10 pounds of Queso Fresco made by WW Dairy, Monroe, Wisconsin, for $150 per pound or a total of $1,500.

• Item 28: Grand Empire — Dupont, USA, Wilmington, Delaware, purchased a combined 12 pounds of Aged Provolone and Smoked Provolone made by Empire Cheese Inc., Cuba, New York, for $450 per pound or a total of $5,400.

• Item 29: First Runner Up! — MCT Dairies, Millburn, New Jersey, purchased 15 pounds of Urnäscher Hornkuhkäse made by Urnäscher Milchspezialitäten AG, Urnäsch, SG, Switzerland, for $60 per pound or a total of $900.

• Item 30: Parmalat Wins A Lot — GEA, Hudson, Wisconsin, purchased a combined 50 pounds of Mild Cheddar and Medium Cheddar made by Parmalat, Winchester, Ontario, for $65 per pound or a total of $3,250.

• Item 31: Chalet’s Baby — Chr. Hansen, Milwaukee, purchased a 40-pound Baby Swiss Block made by Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe, Wisconsin, for $35 per pound or a total of $1,400.

• Item 32: Navarro Gold — V&V Supremo Foods, Browntown, Wisconsin, purchased 40 pounds of Cotija made by Quesos Navarro, Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, for $50 per pound or a total of $2,000.

• Item 33: Roelli By Golly — Dairy Connection Inc., Madison, Wisconsin, purchased 16 pounds of Mild Cheddar Wheel, Cellar Cured, made by Roelli Cheese Co., Shullsburg, Wisconsin, for $200 per pound or a total of $3,200.

• Item 34: Super Switzerland — Great Lakes Cheese Co., Hiram, Ohio, purchased a combined 100 pounds of Bergrausch made by Bergkäserei Aschwanden, Seelisberg, UR, Switzerland; Gruyère AOP Switzerland made by Fromagerie de Grandcour, Grandcour, VD, Switzerland; Swiss Chili made by Kaserei Vorderfultigen, Hinterfultigen, BE, Switzerland; Organic Full-Fat Semi-Soft Cheese, Merlot, made by Käsehandel Sprecher, Gossau, ZH, Switzerland; Gaster-Linth made by Käserei Gaster-Linth AG, Schänis, SG, Switzerland; URS made by Sennerei Spluegen, Spluegen, GR, Switzerland; Spluegen Indien made by Sennerei Spluegen, Spluegen, GR, Switzerland; and Appenzeller Kaese made by Schollruti, Oberburen, CH, Switzerland, for $35 per pound or a total of $3,500.

• Item 35: Time For Tillamook — T.C. Jacoby & Co., St. Louis, purchased a combined 48 pounds of Monterey Jack and Smoked Cheddar made by Tillamook County Creamery, Tillamook, Oregon, for $125 per pound or a total of $6,000.

• Item 36: Uplands Upstages — Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, Wisconsin, purchased 10 pounds of Extra-Aged Pleasant Ridge Reserve made by Uplands Cheese, Dodgeville, Wisconsin, for $125 per pound or a total of $1,250.

• Item 37: Foremost’s Finest — GEA Westfalia Separator Group, Northvale, New York, purchased 6 pounds of Provolone Cheese made by Foremost Farms USA, Chilton, Wisconsin, for $750 per pound or a total of $4,500.

• Item 38: Delicious Decatur — Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, purchased 6 pounds of Smoked Mediterranean Herb Havarti made by Decatur Dairy Inc., Brodhead, Wisconsin, for $850 per pound or a total of $5,100.

• Item 39: Pine River’s Better Butter — Separators Inc., Indianapolis, purchased 10 pounds of Cinnamon & Honey Butter made by Pine River Dairy, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for $300 per pound or a total of $3,000.

• Item 40: Grand Glanbia — GEA, Hudson, Wisconsin, purchased 40 pounds of Walnut MJ made by Glanbia Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho, for $95 per pound or a total of $3,800.

• Item 41: Supremo V&V — Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wisconsin, purchased 10 pounds of Queso Oaxaca Ball made by Chula Vista Cheese for V&V Supremo Foods, Browntown, Wisconsin, for $550 per pound or a total of $5,500.

• Item 42: William’s Wonder — Milk Specialties Global, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, purchased 9 pounds of Garden Vegetable Gourmet Spreadable Cheese made by Williams Cheese Co., Linwood, Michigan, for $185 per pound or a total of $1,665.

• Item 43: Dutch Masterpieces — D. D. Williamson, Louisville, Kentucky, purchased a combined 100 pounds of Paradiso Silver made by Beemster Cheese, Westbeemster, Netherlands; Edam Noord/Wester, Holland Gouda, Milner Mild and North-Holland BOB Low Salt made by FrieslandCampina Export, Wolvega, Friesland, Netherlands; and Wijngaard Kaas Goat Gouda made by Gourmet Foods International, Woerden, Netherlands, for $45 per pound or a total of $4,500.

• Item 44: The World Champion! — T.C. Jacoby & Co., St. Louis, purchased 18 pounds of Roth Grand Cru Surchoix made by Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, Wisconsin, for $775 per pound or a total of $13,950.


USDA increases forecast
for 2016 milk production

April 15, 2016

WASHINGTON — USDA this week increased its 2016 milk production forecast by 200 million pounds to 211.8 billion pounds based on a slower reduction in milk cow inventory and slightly faster growth in milk per cow than previously anticipated.

In its “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report, USDA also raised its forecast for 2016 dairy exports on a fat basis by 200 million pounds to 8.4 billion pounds due to strong exports of butterfat-containing products. Strong imports of butterfat and cheese also support an increase in USDA’s forecast of commercial imports on a fat basis to 7.5 billion pounds, up from 7.0 billion pounds forecast last month.

Meanwhile, based on the pace of trade to date, forecasts for both exports and imports on a skim-solids basis were reduced to 36.2 billion pounds (down 100 million pounds) and 6.2 billion pounds (down 200 million pounds), respectively.

In its report, USDA lowered is price forecast for butter and nonfat dry milk (NDM) from last month due to relatively large supplies and continued pressure from weak international prices. The 2016 butter price forecast now is $2.005-$2.085 per pound, down from $2.010-$2.100 last month. The NDM price is forecast at $0.760-$0.800, down from $0.770-$0.820.

Cheese and whey prices are unchanged at the midpoint, but the range is narrowed for cheese. The 2016 cheese price is forecast at $1.510-$1.560, and the dry whey price is forecast at $0.230-$0.260.

With no change made to cheese and whey, the 2016 Class III price forecast is unchanged at the midpoint and now is $13.65-$14.15 per hundredweight. The Class IV price is lowered on the lower butter and NDM prices to $12.90-$13.50 as opposed to $13.05-$13.75 in last month’s report.

The annual all-milk price forecast is unchanged at the midpoint as stronger first-half prices are offset by lower second-half price forecasts, USDA says. The 2016 all-milk price now is forecast to average in the $15.00-$15.50 range.


NMPF, IDFA say WHO guidance
on milk not accurate

April 15, 2016

WASHINGTON — The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) this week urged members of Congress to insist that the United States request a more thorough analysis of a World Health Organization (WHO) proposal on the marketing of dairy products to infants and young children.

In January, WHO issued a draft guidance on “Ending the Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children.” A large part of the guidance focused on infant and growing-up formula products. WHO says the differences between milk products promoted for children of different ages are not well-understood, and inappropriate promotion of these products could mislead parents and caregivers about the nutrition and health-related qualities as well as safe and age-appropriate use of these foods. Furthermore, WHO notes that the promotion of foods for infants under 6 months has been associated with earlier cessation of exclusive breast-feeding.

IDFA in February said the guidelines could have serious trade implications for companies that export dairy products and ingredients, particularly milk powders used in infant nutrition products. (See “IDFA takes action against World Health Organization food promotion draft guidelines” in the Feb. 26, 2016, issue of Cheese Market News.)

In an April 13 letter to members of Congress, NMPF and IDFA say that the WHO Secretariat intends to push the World Health Assembly to adopt the draft guidance during its annual meeting next month without conducting a full and transparent assessment of the evidence and an impact analysis. The letter says this is of great concern to the U.S. dairy industry because the policies proposed “contradict decades of federal nutrition policy which recognizes dairy foods as safe, nutrient-rich foods to be encouraged for growing children under three years of age.”

NMPF and IDFA say that the United States and several other countries provided extensive comments to WHO noting many areas of concern with the initial draft guidance document. Those issues and others, including potential trade impacts, still were largely unaddressed in the latest draft, which was issued in late March, the groups say.

“In fact, the Draft Guidance specifically favors locally-produced products by exempting them from the proposed restrictions, and singles out imported, commercially-produced products for inclusion,” the letter to Congress says.

“The WHO guidance document is a de facto criticism of all milk consumption by toddlers,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF. “This flies in the face of all credible, international nutrition research and would confuse consumers across the globe.”

IDFA earlier this year voiced concerns that the marketing of certain milks, yogurts and cheeses also could be negatively affected by this guidance.

“The WHO guidance should be focusing on how to encourage the serving of nutrient-dense foods to provide young children and toddlers with a nutritious basis for meals and snacks,” says Connie Tipton, president and CEO, IDFA. “It should not restrict the flow of important information regarding the nutritional benefits of dairy foods for young children to parents, caregivers and healthcare providers.”


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
May 4, 2016

Barrels: $1.3525 (-1 3/4)
Blocks: $1.3250 (-1 1/2)

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Cheese Production
U.S. Total Feb.
956.166 mil. lbs.

Milk Production
U.S. Total March.
18.406 bil. lbs.

Guest Columnist

All shook up

Connie Tipton, International Dairy Foods Association

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