October 1, 2005
Kraft Foods Inc. has announced it will remove advertising for some of its products from Web sites frequented by children under age 12. Roger Deromedi, the Northfield, Ill.-based company’s chief executive officer, says child-focused Web sites were gaining in popularity, adding that tackling childhood obesity “starts with awareness and changes in practices such as we are doing.” Products meeting Kraft’s Sensible Solutions nutrition standards will still be advertised.
Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, N.H. wants to pay its home state to inspect New Zealand dairy farms so it can import milk products to boost its organic yogurt production. The legislative Fiscal Committee voted to let the yogurt maker pay the state $60,000 to send inspectors to New Zealand. Stonyfield Farm says it can’t get enough organic Grade A dried milk powder in the United States to make organic products. The company wants to import the powder from Fonterra, a dairy cooperative in New Zealand. Stonyfield Farm needs Fonterra to be listed on the federal Interstate Milk Shippers list, and that’s where the state comes in. The federal government doesn’t inspect foreign milk producers, leaving states to work that out with companies.
A comment from French Industry Minister Francois Loos that the government wouldn’t shield Groupe Danone from a hostile takeover has again fueled rumors that the company may be bought by Kraft Foods or Pepsico. Another source close to Danone Chairman Franck Riboud told Paris Match magazine “a takeover bid offering a big premium would be unassailable.” The company has declined to comment on the reports. Groupe Danone is the parent company of The Dannon Co. and owns a majority interest in Stonyfield Farm.
With the expiration of the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program on September 30, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is urging the dairy industry to unite behind a strategy that focuses on creating a policy structure that promotes innovation and growth for producers and processors. “The expiration of MILC presents an ideal opportunity for all of us to take a broader look at the complex web of federal dairy programs and to create a framework that is national in scope, less market disruptive, fiscally responsible and compliant with U.S. trade obligations,” says Chip Kunde, IDFA senior vice president. The MILC program, created in 2002 in an attempt to revive the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact, pays dairy producers on the first 2.4 million pounds of milk when fluid milk prices fall below the Class I price in Boston (the same trigger price for the compact region). The target price of $16.94 per hundred pounds (11.6 gallons) of milk in Boston is more than $1 higher than the average of the past five years. A report to Congress last year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found MILC worked at cross purposes with the Dairy Price Support Program, prolonging milk price slumps. Efforts to renew MILC are expected to continue until Congress adjourns in November or December.
Representatives for Joseph Gallo Farms, testified at a hearing last month that the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) should be terminated immediately. Every five years, the California Department of Food & Agriculture is required to hold a public hearing to determine if there is cause to discontinue the CMAB program. In other news, the CMAB released in September an economic study detailing the broad impact of the industry on farmers, feed producers, cheese and grocery firms and their employees. The study predicts a 27 percent growth in milk production and a 42 percent increase in cheese production over the next decade.
Five years ago, Dairy Council of California set a goal to double its reach to 5 million adults and children by 2005. By reaching out to new audiences and finding new channels to deliver its family of nutrition education materials that highlight the health benefits of dairy foods, the council has achieved its goal, its officials announced in August.
A U.K.-published book, The Milk Imperative, suggests that osteoporosis is caused by a lack of bone-making cells rather than a lack of calcium, and blames dairy milk for depleting those cells in the body. The book is authored by Russell Eaton, about whose background in nutrition the book’s Web site provides no information, with a forward by Dr. Amy Lanou of the anti-dairy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. A Google search indicates Eaton’s background is in property investment. More details about the book are at www.milkimperative.com.$OMN_arttitle="Newswire";?>