The fuss about Fussell’s

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I am a dairy farmer in Newfoundland and Labrador and would like to offer a few comments regarding a Sept. 24 column about the apparent shortage of Fussell’s tinned cream in this province.

I am a dairy farmer in Newfoundland and Labrador and would like to offer a few comments regarding a Sept. 24 column about the apparent shortage of Fussell’s tinned cream in this province.

It is clearly recognized and respected that Newfoundlanders are attached to this particular product through long-standing traditions.

The specific brand Fussell’s is produced in the Netherlands and is imported to Canada through requests made to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

While this may sound onerous, importers are very familiar with the process and apply for import permits as a routine part of their business.

It is true that under Canada’s trade regulations, the volume of “specialty creams” that can be imported within our tariff rate quota (TRQ) is 394,000 kilograms.

It is also true that, in the past year, less than half that amount was actually imported.

While TRQs may sound restrictive, they are actually an opportunity to provide Canadian consumers with dairy products (and many other goods) otherwise unavailable to them. The tariff rate within the allowable quota is very low (pennies per unit), and I would suggest that the transportation and distribution of the products within Canada is the far greater cost for importers.

As individual dairy farmers, our responsibility is to provide quality milk to dairy processors.

As a marketing agency, the responsibility of Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador is to ensure that there is enough milk in the province to allow processors to satisfy the needs of consumers.

The dairy industry welcomes opportunities for secondary processing but often the size of the potential market (in this case a niche market for 23 per cent butter fat cream) challenges the economic feasibility of investing in the necessary infrastructure.

The milk required for production could readily be made available by dairy farmers, but often processing, packaging, distribution and retailing arrangements are the greater difficulty for processors.

That being stated, the current discussion regarding the shortage of this particular product for Newfoundland and Labrador consumers may be sufficient incentive for one of our dairy processors to explore filling this opportunity. I hope it does.

In the meantime, I would encourage the company importing the product to improve their efforts in providing a more constant supply.

I am a fan during berry season and at Christmastime, as well. I also urge consumers to look for alternatives in the dairy case and discuss the availability of similar (but admittedly not identical) products with their retailers.

Pauline Duivenvoorden

chair

Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador

Organizations: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Netherlands

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  • david
    October 16, 2013 - 11:22

    $850 to $9.00 for a gallon of milk in Newfoundland. $3.00 for a gallon of Pepsi. Submitted without further comment....you figure it out.