Three dairy food giants have filed a joint application to the Federal Court of Canada challenging new regulations on how cheese is made and sold in the country.

Kraft Canada, Parmalat Canada and Saputo (jointly "KPS") are challenging changes to the Food and Drugs Act and the Canadian Agricultural Products Act, which will take effect from 14 December.

The regulations will require cheese makers to strictly limit the use of natural constituents of milk, frequently referred to as modified milk, or dairy ingredients.

"The regulations are bad for consumers, bad for cheese makers, bad for dairy farmers and bad for Canada," said KPS spokesperson Yvan Loubier. "KPS is challenging the new regulations to protect the integrity and future of Canadian cheese."

The cheese-makers belives that even though the regulations will not make cheese taste better or improve its nutritional quality, they will likely see Canadian consumers pay "significantly" more for cheese.

"The clear intent of these new regulations is additional revenue for dairy farmers," added Loubier. "Unfortunately any gains for dairy farmers will likely be short-lived. The new regulations will hurt both cheese makers and dairy farmers. They will increase the price of cheese to consumers, may reduce cheese consumption and threaten the viability of Canada as a cheese making nation.

"The irony," said Loubier "is that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recognises that it is impossible to determine if the finished cheese that consumers buy in fact complies with the new regulations."

The cheese makers also believe the new cheese regulations are in contravention of Canada's international trade obligations and agreements.