Here’s a report about what went down at the meeting, as well as background information, from a source who wishes to remain anonymous:
The Ontario Cheese Society was founded six or seven years ago as a result of an article about the severe restrictions put on by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario regarding the development of artisan cheeses in Ontario. The licensing process made it impossible for most farmers to venture into on farm processing.
In the meantime thanks to the Ontario Cheese Society, the pressure of foodies and high profile chefs, the emergence of small cheese plants has become a significant new player in the gourmet world of Ontario.
No wonder that the Dairy Farmers of Ontario had to get involved for two reasons:
- They need to “appear” progressive in order to justify their monopoly
- They needed to be part of the board of directors in order to have a say where the OCS will go
The most important tool in that field of politics is money and favors.
Playing nice and providing favors. This makes the emerging artisan cheese makers dependent and willing foot soldiers of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.
Sponsorship money for conferences and operating money, which is always needed, comes with an invisible string attached.
For many years Michael Schmidt has been a member of the OCS in good standing, He followed with interest the development. However behind closed doors he was criticized for not playing by the current rules. He also was denied to inform the society members about the 1. and 2. International Raw Milk Symposium.
In a letter to the present chairman he expressed his frustration about the compromises and loss of independence of this organization, which has education as part of its mandate.
After a lengthy discussion and opposition of the DFO”s position regarding raw milk, Michael Schmidt was allowed to have a display at this years annual conference in Toronto.
In a surprise move the DFO pulled out of the event with its speaker and display table.
As well the local health unit was informed” anonymously” that raw milk will be served at the conference.
When I spoke with Michael about this situation he just laughed and said, that he never would dream of endangering his current legal status by offering non cow share members farm fresh milk.
He also referred to a similar situation in Washington DC where he attended a conference of the International Food Safety Association. The key note speaker supposed to be John Sheehan the head of the FDA anti raw milk squad. After hearing that Michael Schmidt and Sally Fallon had signed up he cancelled in the last minute his engagement and with it also his 15 FDA participants.
So what does the FDA and DFO have in common?
They are cowards.
It’s curious that the Toronto Star story about the Ontario Cheese Society meeting doesn’t talk about this kind of stuff at all.