Manitoba cheese company to tap into GMO-free market

For consumers who want it, cheese produced from the milk of cows fed non-genetically-modified feed will soon be available at grocery stores in Canada.

On Tuesday, Bothwell Cheese announced plans to produce and sell this new cheese in 2017. The company, based in the southeastern Manitoba town of New Bothwell, said it would soon launch a line of cheeses certified by the Non-GMO Project, a verification program located in Washington state.

Bothwell Cheese will use milk from dairy cows fed GM-free grains and oilseeds, to manufacture its new line of cheeses.

“Individuals and families are telling us they would like to be given more choice and we are proud to be able to offer this as an option,” said Kevin Thomson, president of Bothwell Cheese, in a statement.

Citizen Relations, a public relations company in Toronto promoting the Bothwell Cheese announcement, said GM free products are in high demand in Canada.

The PR firm said:

• According to public polling, a quarter of all Canadians say “nothing can convince them to purchase genetically modified food.”

• European cheese will soon be coming to Canada because of the Canada-Europe free trade deal. Many European dairy products carry a non-GM label and this will create competition for Canadian cheese makers.

The grocery store label for the cheese is unlikely to say “non-GMO” or “GMO-free”, because federal government rules don’t permit the use of such labels.

“Meat, cheese, milk cannot be labeled as non-GMO,” said Therese Beaulieu, Dairy Farmers of Canada assistant director of policy communications. “The milk itself, the cheese itself, there’s not a genetic modification to it.”

Beaulieu said the Bothwell Cheese label can say the cheese came from cows fed non-GMO feed.

The topic of GM-free milk came up at the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba annual meeting in December 2015.

The dairy producers passed a resolution at that meeting asking the organization’s board to work with milk processors to “make the (non-GM) market opportunity a reality for Manitoba registered producers.”

Bothwell Cheese is sold at dozens of independent and chain grocery stores, including Sobeys, Safeway, Costco and Save On Foods.


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