Top Honours for Canadian Dairy Scientists

Top Honours for Canadian Dairy Scientists

Congratulations to Canadian Dairy scientists, Drs. Anne-Marie de Passillé (University of British Columbia) and Ian Doohoo (Mastitis Network, University of PEI) for their inauguration as Honorary PhDs of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Helsinki on June 5, 2015 in Helsinki, Finland. The ceremony is a three-day event (declared as one of the finest in the Academic world…). The President of the Republic of Finland was also among the ten individuals receiving their Honoray PhD. What follows is the write up on each one provided by the University of Helsinki:

Adjunct Professor Anne Marie de Passillé

Anne Marie de Passillé is an internationally esteemed researcher focusing on the behaviour of production animals. She has retired from the position of senior researcher at Agri-Food Canada but continues her research work as Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia.

In 1995, Dr. de Passillé, and her husband working in the same field, started collaborating with the researchers of the then new field of science in Finland, the study of animal welfare and behaviour. It is largely due to her that the faculty’s researchers on the subject are today very well connected internationally and active in the scientific community. The teaching, guidance and research collaboration of the faculty with Anne Marie de Passillé has enabled the development of a once minor field of study into one of international renown.

Professor Ian Dohoo

Ian Dohoo is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada. He is a leading researcher in veterinary epidemiology who publishes actively. He is one of the pioneers in the creation of computer-based follow-up methods used in animal health research.

Prof. Dohoo has meritoriously taught the fundamentals of epidemiology to several generations of veterinarians. His courses, e.g. the yearly NOVA courses of the Nordic countries, have formed the basis for the epidemiological and statistical know-how of many Finnish researchers, and still continue to do so for the greater part of the doctoral students of the faculty. Furthermore, he has authored course books for veterinary epidemiology. Prof. Dohoo is an exceptionally motivating and good teacher who has been able to inspire his students. He has received several prizes for teaching and research as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Guelph and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

New!! DFC Research Investments and Activities in 2014

New!! DFC Research Investments and Activities in 2014
  • What are some of the paybacks from dairy research investments?
  • How are DFC investments being leveraged to maximize the number of research projects funded to meet Canadian dairy producers’ priorities?
  • Do you know the latest progress made in animal welfare research? Environment? Human nutrition and health?

A new annual publication called the DFC Dairy Research Highlights contains this information and more at:

Features include some of the paybacks from investments in research, a timeline of major research activities in 2014, key results from projects and a complete list of all projects in operation in 2014, including those financed in human nutrition and health under DFC’s Executive Scientific Advisory Committee.

For copies of the document or more information, contact Shelley Crabtree at

Dairy Research at the DFC Annual General Meeting – July 13-15, 2015

The Dairy Research Cluster booth was installed at the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s AGM from July 13-15 in Vancouver BC. The latest dairy research publications were distributed to farmers and industry contacts. Farmers and dairy representatives working in the equipment and banking sectors also took part in the “Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research” campaign by filling out the online survey at



UBC Tour: Dairy Research Excellence!

A special edition of the Dairy Research Update features the work of UBC researchers with projects financed by industry at the Dairy Research and Education Centre at UBC.

Got an opinion on dairy research?

Don’t forget to Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research at:

See us at these coming events:

May 27-28, 2015, Montreal, Quebec

Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network

Annual Scientific Meeting

May 28, 2015, Elora, Ontario

Livestock Research and Innovation Centre – Elora Dairy Facility Open House

June 1-2, 2015, Quebec City, Quebec

STELA Symposium 2015

June 23-24, Edmonton, Alberta


July 13-15, Vancouver, British Columbia

Dairy Farmers of Canada Annual General Meeting

Saturated Fat and Cardiovascular Disease: Where Are We?

Saturated Fat and Cardiovascular Disease: Where Are We?

Less consumption of saturated fat has in the past been associated with better cardiovascular health. However, there is significant and mounting evidence showing that saturated fat is NOT associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, some studies have shown that the origin of the saturated fat is very important, especially when it comes to dairy, which may have no or even a positive benefit for cardiovascular health. For the fat facts on this story, click here.

Human Nutrition and Health

A research team led by Dr. Hope Weiler at McGill University is studying the effects of dairy consumption on teenagers’ bone development. They will be following the dairy intake of a group of healthy teens aged 15 to 18 years old for two years. This age group is in a critical period for the development of peak bone mass or PBM. Diet and activity are key lifestyle factors in the primary prevention of osteoporosis as recognized in Canada’s Food and Activity Guides.

Called the FAMILY Milk study and supported by funding received in the Dairy Research Cluster, Dr. Weiler’s work is receiving positive attention in the community. Her work and recruitment efforts were recently publicized in the Montreal Gazette on February 17th. The team aims to include 200 teens in the study to obtain the best results possible. While teenagers are the main target group to be investigated, it is referred to as the FAMILY study because parents have such an important role in food purchases, food preparation and instilling healthy behaviours toward food for their children. As a result, parents and their habits and behaviours toward dairy will also be examined.

According to Dr. Weiler, research shows that 75% of teenagers are not consuming enough dairy products as per the recommended servings in Canada’s Food Guide. That means they may not be getting enough of the minerals they need, like calcium, during this major growth period. The health-economic costs associated with osteoporotic fracture that could be avoided if dairy was consumed as recommended are approximately 129 million Euros for France and $200 billion dollars for North Americans.

For a summary of the study, visit

What is the Impact of Removing Chocolate Milk from Schools?

Increasing childhood obesity rates have made food intake at school a focal point for policy makers, school administrators, parents, and the media. Flavoured milks are being limited or even eliminated from some schools in Canada and the U.S. … with unintended consequences that could critically hinder optimal nutrient intakes.


  • Chocolate milk can improve diet quality of children and adolescents with no adverse impact on weight.
  • Removing chocolate milk from schools negatively affects overall milk and key nutrient intakes.
  • The nutrient contribution of milk is very difficult to replace with other foods.

Full article can be found here.

Listen to Dr. Carol Henry, Associate Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Saskatchewan explain her research on the Dairy Research Cluster Channel

Continue reading “What is the Impact of Removing Chocolate Milk from Schools?”

Can dairy product consumption lower blood pressure?

Can dairy product consumption lower blood pressure?

Hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is high. If left untreated, this condition can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The prevalence of high blood pressure has been steadily increasing worldwide. In Canada, over six million Canadian adults[1] – that’s one in five – now have the condition.

The good news is that diet is a key factor in the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Healthy eating patterns, which include dairy products, have been shown to have beneficial effects on high blood pressure.

Many studies have shown that eating dairy products can help lower the risk of high blood pressure in healthy individuals. However, few studies have looked at the impact of dairy consumption on people diagnosed with mild to moderate hypertension.

The authors of this study decided to investigate how dairy product consumption could affect blood pressure in men and women with mild to moderate hypertension. They enlisted the help of 89 men and women, who were asked to eat three servings per day of dairy products (milk, cheddar cheese and yogurt) for a four-week period.

Results showed that eating three daily servings of dairy products led to a significant reduction in blood pressure in men, but not in women. According to the researchers, this is consistent with other findings that suggest men and women respond differently to blood pressure regulation.

The study also showed that consuming three daily servings of dairy products significantly improved endothelial function in both men and women. “Endothelial” refers to the cells that form the lining of blood vessels. When this inner lining is impaired, it can increase the risk of coronary artery disease and is also linked to high blood pressure.

Authors: Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, Iris Gigleux, André J Tremblay, Luc Poirier, Benoît Lamarche, and Patrick Couture

Journal: Nutrition Journal, 2014, 13: 83

[1] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada website


First National Dairy Study about to get underway

First National Dairy Study about to get underway

By: Dr. David Kelton, Professor, Population Medicine, University of Guelph

Starting in January, 2015, the first National Dairy Study will be conducted across Canada. This is a research initiative funded by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada the Canadian Dairy Network and the Canadian Dairy Commission through the Dairy Research Cluster 2 Program. The study is modeled after the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) studies that occur periodically in the United States. The goal is to gather health and management information from a random sample of dairy farms across the country in order to describe and benchmark the current state of the Canadian dairy industry. 

In the spring of 2014, various dairy stakeholders were recruited to prioritize the topics for the upcoming Canadian study through an on-line questionnaire. Response was overwhelming with over 1,000 respondents. Animal welfare was the number one management issue identified, while lameness was the number one health issue. Other management issues were: biosecurity, costs of disease, antibiotic use, food safety, reproductive and udder health. Top health issues included: calf diarrhea, respiratory disease, bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), enzootic bovine leukosis (EBL)/bovine leukemia virus (BLV), Johne’s disease, E. coli (food safety), and S. aureus mastitis. These issues have formed the framework for the upcoming study.

The study will be conducted in two phases. Phase I will get underway in early 2015, and will consist of a questionnaire administered either on-line or via telephone to a randomly selected number of producers. The selection process will ensure all provinces will be proportionally represented and will include farms that are and are not currently registered with a milk recording agency. This phase will help establish national benchmarks for production and dairy farm management. In the second phase of the study a subset of farms will be visited during the summer of 2015 by regional teams of university students who will collect biological samples from animals and data about specific management and disease issues.

The results from this collaborative, proactive initiative will benefit producers in many ways. Participation in the first phase will generate data that will allow them to compare their operation to local, regional, and national benchmarks. Participation in the farm visit will provide them with free test results for selected diseases of importance in Canada. In addition, the results will help guide future research and the development activities for agriculturally based companies, educators and researchers at universities. Lastly, it will help to reinforce the strong reputation for food safety and sustainability that the Canadian dairy industry has among consumers.

For a summary of the study, visit