Dairy Farmers of Canada convening expert committee on fat supplementation in cow feed

Statement Ottawa, ON

Dairy Farmers of Canada is aware of the recent reports regarding fat supplementation in the dairy sector.

Dairy Farmers of Canada is aware of the recent reports regarding fat supplementation in the dairy sector.

Cows’ diets can differ throughout the country, based on seasonality and regional differences in soil conditions and climate. While farmers grow the majority of the crops they feed their cows, a number of common feeds like flax, canola, corn, and other plants have been used for decades in a targeted way to ensure cows are meeting their energy requirements. Exact cow feed rations are determined at the farm level in consultation with veterinarians and animal nutrition experts.

Palm products, including those derived from palm oil, are sometimes added to dairy cows’ rations in limited amounts to increase the energy density of cow diets if needed. Dairy farmers in other countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia also use this supplement. They can help provide energy to cows and no undesirable effects have been identified arising from its use in cows’ feed rations.

All milk sold in Canada is nutritious and safe to consume and is subject to Canada’s rigorous health and safety standards. Palmitic acid, which is different from palm fat, is a naturally occurring part of the fat of many plants and animals in various levels. When supplements of palm fats are given to cows in Canada, the amount typically provided in their feed is small, and has a very limited impact on the palmitic fatty acid profile of their milk. It is estimated that the increase in the palmitic fatty acid profile of dairy fat linked to this feeding practice is less than 3%.

From a feed perspective, the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada notes that the use of palm fat in dairy feed is not new and is a safe ingredient, approved for use by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  Similarly, Daniel Lefebvre, the Chief Operating Officer from Lactanet, the Canadian dairy centre of excellence, stresses that the inclusion of palm fat supplements in the cow’s nutrition is not a health or safety concern.

DFC is striking a working group comprised of stakeholders and experts to assess current literature, gaps in data, and look into issues that have been raised by consumers. A diverse range of stakeholders will be invited to participate, with representation from dairy farmers, processors, internal and external experts. We will also seek the views of consumers as part of this exercise.

Dairy farmers are uncompromising when it comes to quality and follow some of the most stringent standards in the world to uphold that commitment.

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About Dairy Farmers of Canada

Dairy Farmers of Canada is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canadian dairy producers. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the dairy sector in our country. It also seeks to maintain policies that promote the sustainability of Canadian dairy production and promote dairy products and their health benefits.

Media Contact

Lucie Boileau
Director of Communications
Dairy Farmers of Canada
Lucie. [email protected]