Say cheese! Canada could soon up its cheese game, big time

Apr 10 2017, 5:45 pm

Calling all cheese lovers: Canada could soon allow in more (and more!) European cheese imports, and our national cheese producers will have to up their game in response.

If you are a cheese enthusiast and a Canadian, you might have long bemoaned our country’s prohibitive import and tariff structure that basically keeps us on a slim diet of European cheese from the other side of the ocean. And if you have ever eaten European cheese, you know a lot of that continent’s cheese producers have got their skills on lock.

But Canada has written in longstanding policies that favour Canadian milk producers and, consequently, cheese makers.

However, the dairy biz is poised for a bit of a gouda shake-up, as the newly-ratified Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could allow for a greater percentage of cheese to come from Europe (and into our cheese plates, grilled cheese sandwiches, and fondue pots).

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If you need to get nerdy about it, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University breaks down in the Globe and Mail what could play out as far as CETA and cheese goes.

Photo courtesy Burgoo (Robert Shaer)

The bad news is, if we do get to bring in more cheese to Canada, that doesn’t likely mean that our prices will improve. Thanks to a stable demand, and the existing structure of the dairy industry, we can still expect to see the same sort of stickers on our favourite wedges of Canadian-made cheddar, havarti, brie, and more.

The good news is that more means MORE, and we are talking about cheese, so there could be an opening up in the variety of cheese we see in our favourite cheese shops and grocery stores and restaurant cheese platters.

First, it would be because there’s a year-by-year plan in CETA to increase the percentage of imports, and secondly because Canadian artisan cheesemakers will probably be trying new things to be competitive for your cheese dollars.

Bring on the cheese, please!

Lindsay William-RossLindsay William-Ross

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