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A Cheese Factory Strike In Quebec Has Sent Millions Of Litres Of Milk Down The Drain

The strike began last Wednesday; not all milk could be rerouted to other facilities

Cows in a row in a milk facility. Right: A cheese platter.

Cows in a row in a milk facility. Right: A cheese platter.

More than two million litres of milk have been discarded since the beginning of a general strike at the Agropur cheese factory in Granby, Quebec. (For reference, an Olympic swimming pool holds 2.5 million litres. In other words, that's a lot of cow juice.)

The strike, which began last Wednesday, halted operations at the plant. Because there is no one to process the milk, the production chain that leads to cheese on our burgers, for example, has been disrupted.

This means that millions of litres of milk that were intended to be processed at the Granby plant now have nowhere to go. When this happens, other milk processors are turned to in order to handle the excess milk, explained Yanick Grégoire, the assistant director of communications for the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec.

During this week’s negotiations, the producers approached many other milk processors asking them to take some of the excess, including plants in other provinces, food banks, and even the animal feed industry. After these efforts, the remaining litres of milk had only one option left: disposal as waste.

Thankfully, consumers can rest assured that their favourite grocery store’s milk and dairy sections will be stocked as normal. Disruptions like these don’t tend to affect the market, Grégoire added.

As for the strike’s effectiveness, only time will tell.

Agropur’s representative declined to comment on the content of the negotiations. MTL Blog has reached out to the trade union and will update this story upon receiving a response.

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