Recognition of the designation of specificity Fromage de vache de race Canadienne and its English translation Canadienne Cow Cheese as a reserved designation was granted on March 9, 2016 by the Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec in legal notice 64556 published in the Gazette officielle du Québec, volume 148, no. 10.
The Canadienne cow, a heritage breed needing protection
The Canadienne breed is a descendant of breeds found in Normandy and Brittany in the 16th century, some specimens of which were exported to New France from 1608 to 1670. These cattle served as draught animals, dairy cows, beef cattle and sources of leather. Of inestimable value to isolated settlers with small plots of land, they dominated the province’s dairy industry until the mid-19th century.
With the subsequent industrialization of dairy farming and the arrival of more productive breeds, the Canadienne cow declined. From 300,000 head in 1850, its numbers fell steadily until, by the 1970s, only a hundred or so purebred specimens remained. On December 15, 1999, Québec’s National Assembly designated the Canadienne cow as a heritage breed in the Act respecting animal breeds forming part of Québec’s agricultural heritage (known as Bill 199). Efforts are currently being made to revitalize the breed and increase the number of purebred animals, but the work will take many years. For players in the industry, the Canadienne Cow Cheese designation of specificity will help guarantee the survival of this heritage breed of cattle by protecting its reputation and the added value obtained from the processing of its milk. This designation will, among other benefits, guarantee the authenticity and genetic purity of animals making up the dairy herds concerned.
Key certification requirements
Canadienne cow milk is recognized as having a high potential fat and protein content. These characteristics, combined with advantageous levels of casein, a protein substance making up most of the nitrogenous substances in milk, are particularly useful in cheese production. Canadienne Cow Cheese is made using only calf rennet, salt, acidifying microorganisms and ripening ferments. Made from whole non-standardized milk, it has a distinctive appearance and texture.
A number of cheeses can be made in this way. Canadienne Cow Cheeses can be sold whole, in portions pre-packed at the cheese factory, or over the counter.