Friesland Foods requests interim injunction against DDB

2 June 2008

Interim injunction proceedings requested by Friesland Foods against the Dutch Dairymen Board will be held before the Haarlem District Court on Monday, 2 June 2008. In this way, Friesland Foods aims to end the blockade of the production facility in Nijkerk.

Consequences of DDB blockades

Since the start of the DDB actions on Tuesday, 27 May 2008, some 350 of the 9,400 member dairy farmers of Friesland Foods have not supplied their milk on one or more occasions in protest against the blockades. Friesland Foods also suffers from the blockade of the production facility of Friesland Foods Fresh in Nijkerk on Tuesday, 27 May 2008, from around 11 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. Since Friday, 30 May 2008, around 10.30 a.m., the production facility has been closed off again by demonstrating DDB members. As a result, no fresh dairy products can be supplied to supermarkets. Further blockades of production facilities in Leeuwarden, Workum, Gerkesklooster, Marum, Dronrijp and Varsseveld were reported on Saturday, 31 May 2008. Since these blockades resulted in an interruption of the milk transportation, some 100 dairy farmers reluctantly had to throw away the milk on Saturday. Between Saturday evening, 5 p.m., and midnight, no milk at all could be collected from the member dairy farmers. In the early morning of Sunday, 1 June, the blockades of these production facilities were lifted and milk transports resumed.

Over the past years, delegations from the Board of Zuivelcoöperatie Friesland Foods and the Board of Management of Friesland Foods have held several talks with representatives from DDB. During these meetings, Friesland Foods repeatedly shared DDB’s concern about the changes in income levels in dairy farming. However, Friesland Foods rejects the demand for payment of a milk price that covers the costs, as supply and demand of dairy products throughout the world determine selling prices.

On Saturday, 31 May, Mr Sybren Attema, Chairman of the Board of Zuivelcoöperatie Friesland Foods, appealed to the DDB board, both verbally and in writing, to end the blockades, as they cause damage to Friesland Foods, the member dairy farmers and customers alike.

Friesland Foods currently processes some 14 to 15 million kilos of milk from member dairy farmers a day. Owing to the blockades of seven production facilities, Friesland Foods was forced, on Saturday, to transport approximately 7 million kilos of milk to the remaining five open milk-processing facilities. In addition, milk was transported as much as possible to other dairy companies. The available production and buffer capacity enabled Friesland Foods to collect the milk from member farmers until 5 p.m. From that time onwards the available buffer capacity was being fully utilised. Following the lift of the blockades in Leeuwarden, Workum, Gerkesklooster, Marum, Dronrijp and Varsseveld, Friesland Foods was able to collect milk from member farmers and resume processing.