The Puerto Rico Dairy Industry (Indulac) received yesterday the first shipment of 100,000 quarts of grade A bedding, imported from Georgia, to make extended-life dairy and milk products, such as UHT, confirmed the administrator of the Office of Regulation of the Milk Industry (ORIL), Jorge Campos, and the director of the Dairy Industry Development Fund, Orlando Fabre.
As explained in an interview with Primera Hora, permission to import milk was granted to all milk processing plants until October 31, due to “projections of possible shortages” of this important product. However, only Indulac has started importing milk.
Campos explained that the months of greatest production on the island are February, March and April because it is colder. But, in August, September and October, as they are warmer months, production tends to decrease.
However, the coronavirus pandemic caused production to contract and some heifers were not brought to the island to replace the cows that left the milking line. But, mainly, in these months of confinement there was an “increase in consumption of fresh milk, processed milk and cheese,” said Fabre, who was Secretary of Agriculture under the administration of Alejandro García Padilla.
Now that milk production decreased, the Department of Health and ORIL granted authorization to the Dairy Industry Development Fund so that milk could be imported. The decision is based on protecting Puerto Rico’s brands and preventing other foreign companies from entering the market, the experts explained.
“If it is not done,” Campos warned, “other importers would occupy the space of the local brand and, at times when production is re-established, the local producer will find that its market channel has been limited. Thus, we prevent marketable channels from contracting ”.
Fabre pointed out that the company that imports the milk cannot mix the product with fresh milk. Meanwhile, he pointed out that quality is guaranteed, because the federal Department of Agriculture only allows importing grade A milk.
In fact, Fabre noted that the Health Department and other regulatory agencies checked the imported milk and found no problems.
Another shipment of imported milk is expected to arrive next week.
Both officials estimate that these imports could last for five weeks or even before Thanksgiving.
To give you an idea, 7.5 million quarts of milk are produced on the Island every 14 days. The consumption of fresh milk, not including any derivative, is 10 million quarts per month.
With the milk produced on the island, companies such as Indulas, Tres Monjita and Suiza Dairy, among others, also make cheese, butter and ice cream.