TORONTO -- Despite urgent pleas from restaurateurs not to raise dairy prices, the Canadian Dairy Commission voted Dec. 14 to boost industrial milk prices by 3.5 percent on Feb. 1, 2002. Dairy prices in Canada have increased by 27 percent over the past seven years, almost twice the country's rate of inflation.
According to a release from the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), the increase will cost the country's restaurateurs $65.2 million (Canadian) next year.
"With all the economic turmoil in Canada today, this late-day, $65-million cash grab is cynical and completely out of line," said Stephanie Jones, vice president of food supply with CRFA.
Jones said that pizzeria operators, who purchase most of the mozzarella cheese produced in Canada, will be hardest hit by the price increase.
CRFA already is wrangling in court with the CDC on behalf of Canadian pizzeria operators. In 2000 it was discovered that the CDC grants deep discounts on cheese prices to frozen pizza manufacturers. That same year the CDC rejected CRFA's request for the same discount.
"This gross inequity in dairy prices has put pizza restaurants at a huge disadvantage," said Jones in separate release. "We welcome competition with frozen pizza manufacturers, but let's level the playing field."