Finns still choked up over Estonian milk

  • 2005-04-13
  • Staff and wire reports
TALLINN - Finnish farmers have taken to releasing studies on the allegedly poor quality of Estonian milk as part their effort to undercut the growing strength of Estonian milk on the local market, the daily Postimees reported.

Finland's STT news agency last week reported about a survey conducted in Jyvaskyla that had showed that the amount of bacteria in Estonian milk is bigger than that in Finnish milk, and as a result the quality of the competing Estonian product is lower.

The survey didn't specify which criteria were employed and which qualities were compared.

Estonian officials rejected the accusations that local milk was inferior, saying they were ungrounded.

Heneli Lamp, department head at the Veterinary and Food Board, pointed out that the requirements for milk in both Estonia and in Finland are identical, and if a product meets these requirements it is impossible to say which one is better or worse.

Kalev Karisalu, chief specialist of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that 96 percent of the raw milk produced in Estonia meets the highest quality standards, which is an excellent indicator in comparison with the entire European Union.

Specialists reiterated that it would be possible to speak of poorer quality milk if chemicals or residue of medicines that posed a real danger to consumers' health were found. If things were this way, the Finnish veterinary authority would have long ago sent a note to its Estonian counterpart, Estonian experts said.

Currently the only Estonian dairy exporting drinking milk to Finland is Rakvere Dairy. Other dairies mostly sell yogurt and curds.

Earlier it was reported that Finland's Valio Dairy has used the introduction of Estonian dairy products as a pretext to lower the purchasing price of raw milk a little, the newspaper said.