Dairy Farmers of Canada asks farmers to lay off the palm, for now

In a story that only seems to get more contentious and downright odd the longer it goes on, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is now asking dairy farmers to consider eliminating the use of palm oil by-product supplements in dairy rations, until new research is completed.

Earlier this month, RealAgriculture explored reports by some Canadians of butter being harder to spread recently. While no scientific studies have yet been completed to address this issue specifically, some research suggests that an increased level of palmitic acid in butter, a fatty acid cattle naturally produce regardless of being fed palm by-products, could be the culprit.

Taking it a step further, some suggested that palm oil being added to cow diets was directly responsible for the too-hard butter.

The ensuing media coverage and social media attention has prompted many dairy farmers themselves to speak up, share what and how they feed their cows, and offered to answer any questions or concerns consumers had.

In light of these conversations and concerns, the DFC, which represents dairy farmers in Canada, announced the formation of a working group of experts to “assess current scientific literature, identify gaps in information, and look into issues that have been raised by consumers.” This research, DFC says, is set to begin shortly, and consumers will be asked for their input.

In the meantime, however, DFC is asking producers to consider alternative by-pass fat and ration supplements, eliminating palm by-products from dairy cow diets for now.

“It is essential that decisions be made on a factual basis and that science guide our sector, hence the creation of a working group of experts,” DFC says in a press release, adding that “all milk produced in Canada is as safe as always to consume and is subject to Canada’s robust health and safety standards. We also note that all animal feeds used on dairy farms are approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and are safe for animals.”

Related: Let’s talk butterfat, palm oil, and customer feedback

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