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Expert Working Group on Feed Supplementation in Dairy

The working group includes prominent academics and experts from across Canada, with a diverse range of expertise.

Industry's Response to the Expert Working Group on Feed Supplementation Final Report
Read here

Reports from consumers have raised questions on the consistency of butter and the use of animal feed supplements containing palm by-products. Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) has put in place an independent expert working group to assess these reports and develop fact-based explanations to these questions.  The overarching goal of the expert working group is to deliver evidence-based conclusions on the hardness of butter and any relation to the use of palm supplements in dairy, conclusions informed by the best available peer reviewed science.  

The expert working group has set the scope of its work and will follow the evidence wherever it may lead.  The key objectives established by the working group include the following:

  • Confirm whether there are or have been changes in the characteristics of butter;
  • Review the literature to assess current science as it relates to:
    • Feeding of palm fat supplements to cows;
    • Milk composition;
    • Milk handling and processing techniques; and
    • health and safety of supplements (palm);
  • Identify any gaps in data or research;
  • Review of the level of sustainability of various types of palm fat supplements, including by-products; and
  • Assessment of role and nutritional value of palm fat supplements for dairy cows;

Members of the Working Group

The working group includes prominent academics and experts from across Canada, with a diverse range of expertise. All are recognized as leaders in their fields, with specializations in areas such as dairy nutrition, animal health, sustainability, food science, and human nutrition. Consumers will have a clear voice as the working group includes representation from the Consumers' Association of Canada. The working group also includes participation from dairy processors and farm level experts.

Daniel Lefebvre, Ph. D., PAS, Dipl. ACAN, agr.

Chair of the expert working group,

Chief Operations Officer, Lactanet

Having grown up on a dairy farm in Montérégie, Québec, Daniel takes great pride in the family heritage that has sparked his passion for dairy production. He studied animal science at McGill University, where he graduated in 1989. Member of l’Ordre des agronomes du Québec, Daniel obtained a Ph.D. in 1998 in Dairy cow nutrition and physiology, also from McGill. Currently COO of Lactanet and Director of the Centre of Expertise in Dairy Production. He has been with the organization since 1993, first as Dairy Nutrition Specialist, then as Director of Research and Development. Daniel is certified by the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists and the American College of Animal Nutrition. He has been awarded the Animal Industries Award for Science Extension and Service to the Public, by the Canadian Society of Animal Science in 2009 and 2018. He is currently the President of ICAR, the International Committee for Animal Recording.

Anthony Hanley, PhD

Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto

Dr. Hanley has a PhD in Epidemiology with expertise in the nutritional and metabolic factors that are related to the progression of type 2 diabetes and its underlying physiological traits, including obesity, insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell dysfunction. He also studies high-risk individuals who develop metabolic syndrome—a clustering of risk factors for both diabetes, heart disease and stroke including abnormal blood lipid levels, increased blood pressure, excess fat around the waist and high fasting blood sugar levels. 

His research has been supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canadian Diabetes Association, Dairy Farmers of Canada and the University of Toronto Banting and Best Diabetes Centre. Dr. Hanley is also a member of Dairy Farmers of Canada’s Expert Scientific Advisory Committee.

Richard Bazinet, PhD

Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto

Dr. Bazinet is an expert in lipid metabolism and a Canada research chair in brain lipids and metabolism. He serves as president of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) until March 31, 2021. His research interests include the role of fats in human health, particularly as it relates to brain health and disease. He is also studying the role of certain fatty acids in the development of diabetes and its related metabolic outcomes. Furthermore, he has studied the different lipid profile of grass fed and conventional milk and beef.

His research has been supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Bunge Ltd, Arctic Nutrition, Dairy Farmers of Canada, and Nestle Inc. and has provided complementary fatty acid analysis to farmers, food producers, and others involved in the food industry.

David Kelton, DVM, PhD

Professor, Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph

Dr. Kelton is a veterinary epidemiologist and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario Dairy Cattle Health Research Chair in the Department of Population Medicine. He has been working closely with dairy farmers and veterinary practitioners for over 25 years in developing field-based research projects that address practical issues of concern to the Canadian dairy industry, including to validate and implement milk-based tests for Canadian dairy farmers.

Rachel Gervais, Ph.D., agr.

Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Université Laval

Dr. Gervais completed her PhD studies in animal sciences at Université Laval. She completed her postdoctoral studies at Ghent University in Belgium. She is now a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Université Laval. Dr. Gervais’s research focuses on the effects of diet and nutrition of dairy cows on milk composition and functional properties, mechanisms at work in dairy cows for the synthesis and secretion of fatty acids in milk, and the possibility of using fatty acids in individual cows’ milk as a diagnostic tool. 

She participates to the Centre de recherche en sciences et technologie du lait (STELA) and is an active member of Op+lait, regroupement pour un lait de qualité optimale.

Dr. Gervais’ research is supported by Novalait, the MAPAQ, the Consortium de recherche et innovations en bioprocédés industriels au Québec and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Yves Pouliot, PhD

Professor, Department of Food Sciences, Université Laval

As a member of STELA Dairy Research Center, Dr. Pouliot developed a research expertise on milk and dairy ingredients processing, more specifically on membrane separation processes. He has recently been Chair of the NSERC-Novalait industrial research chair on process efficiency in dairy technology. He also led numerous collaborative projects involving different processors from the Canadian dairy industry, Novalait inc., and the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Jean-François Ménard B.Sc., B.Ing.

Senior Analyst, CIRAIG, LCA expert 

Mr. Ménard has been involved in life cycle assessment since 2002. He has participated in numerous LCA [Life-Cycle Analysis] s for both the private and public sectors. He has an extensive knowledge of the most used LCA software. Worked in the development of several courses on LCA and regularly participates in graduate students training. As an LCA expert, he supervises and participates in numerous LCA projects and conducts critical reviews of LCA done by third parties.

Elaine Scott M.Sc., M.Admin.

Consumers’ Association of Canada

Ms. Scott participates in the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee on behalf of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. She holds a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Administration degree from the University of Regina. Elaine has held senior positions in the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan including the position of Provincial Nutritionist for the Government of Saskatchewan. 

Mathieu Frigon, MSc, MBA, CPA,CMA


Mr. Frigon holds a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Laval University, with over 10 years of experience working in the dairy industry. Mathieu is also a certified accountant and holds a MBA. Mathieu has been President and CEO of DPAC since 2018.

Ed Friesen

Board member, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Lactanet

Mr. Friesen is a dairy farmer in Manitoba, who has served on several board of directors of dairy groups in the last 15 years. Ed has been a DHI director for the past 13 years, serving nine of those years as Chair. Ed is currently a Director At Large for Lactanet, and represent Lactanet on the board of Dairy Farmers of Canada. Ed is currently serving on Dairy Farmers of Manitoba’s board of Directors. He as served 11 years on the Eastern Holstein Club, including 4 years as President.

Bita Farhang, Ph.D.

Research and Development Manager at Dairy Farmers of Ontario

Dr. Farhang provides expertise to provincial and national programs related to research, Business and Product Development Programs, Niche market, Nutrition and Sustainability.

Ms. Farhang holds a Ph.D. in Food Science from the University of Guelph, with over 10 years of experience in the dairy industry, and a comprehensive scientific background and technical experience of the dairy science and dairy product manufacturing. She is a member of the IDF (International Dairy Federation) standing committees on Nutrition and Marketing and board of director of the FIL-IDF Canada.

Woody Siemens, P. Ag., B.Sc., MBA Candidate

BC Milk Marketing Board

Mr. Siemens currently works for the BCMMB (BC Milk Marketing Board) leading transportation, milk quality, animal welfare and business development functions; working closely with the entire dairy supply chain from the farm to the processor, and most places in between. Woody’s career experience includes a range of food and agriculture sectors from feed and nutrition support for dairy farmers to supply chain within PepsiCo Canada. His experience is backed by a BSc in Food Nutrition and Health, a Professional Agrologist Designation, and currently completing an MBA at the University of Guelph.

Chantal Fleury, agr

Assistant Director Economic Research—Agrology, Quebec Milk Producers

After growing up on a dairy farm in Centre-du-Québec, Ms. Fleury completed a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at McGill University. She then worked six years for the Centre d’insémination artificielle du Québec (CIAQ) as a service development manager. She has been working for Les Producteurs de lait du Québec since 2013 as an Agrology Advisor and, most recently, as Assistant Director of Economic Research.