Fairlife plant opening delayed by COVID-19 travel restrictions

It needs experts to help it with final testing of the new Peterborough milk plant

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A limit on the movement of people around the world due to COVID-19 means a delay in the start up of the new Fairlife Canada milk plant in Peterborough.

Company officials announced today that start up will be delayed until later in 2020. The plant was weeks from receiving its first shipment of Canadian milk.

 

Why it matters: The Fairlife Canada plant would provide new demand for Ontario-produced milk.

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“We needed to assemble teams from around world, from outside Canada and the U.S. and into Europe. Bringing teams together in this environment was impossible,” says Carolyn Novick, director, Fairlife.

Anyone crossing an international border has to isolate for two weeks to lessen the risk of spread of COVID-19 caused by coronavirus. Most people in North America are isolating in their homes and business travel has all but completely stopped.

“Really what we have to do is put people’s health and safety first,” she said.

Fairlife, a Coca Cola brand, currently imports its finished milk product from the United States into Canada. It was to replace that milk with Canadian milk when the Peterborough plant was completed. The product is ultrafiltered to contain more protein, less fat and is lactose free. The border remains open to import and export of food products, including milk.

Novick says they plan to get the plant commissioned as soon as possible.

“All I can say for certain, is we will get it up and running as soon as it is safe to do so for the employees. Nobody is as motivated as we are to get this plant up and running. We hope to be long term part of the Canadian dairy industry.”

 

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John Greig

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig

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