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Canadian dairy business Saputo has said it is to retire the name of its Coon cheese brand, which is sold in Australia.

Campaigners have called for the product name, deemed to be racially insensitive, to be dropped for decades and pressure has intensified in recent weeks following the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for greater racial equality.

But Saputo has rejected such change until now, pointing out the brand was named after its founder Edward William Coon.

But in a statement issued today (24 July), the company revealed it has had a change of heart.

It said: “At Saputo, one of our basic principles as an organisation is to treat people with respect and without discrimination and we will not condone behaviour that goes against this.

“As such, we performed a careful and diligent review of a sensitive situation involving one of our brands. We wanted to ensure we listened to all the concerns surrounding the Coon brand name, while also considering comments from consumers who cherish the brand and recognise the origin of its founder Edward William Coon, which they feel connected to.

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“After thorough consideration, Saputo has decided to retire the Coon brand name. We are working to develop a new brand name that will honour the brand-affinity felt by our valued consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives.”

The Coon brand dates back to 1935. It came under Saputo’s control in 2015 when it acquired Lion’s “everyday” cheese business.

A number of other major food manufacturers have ditched product names deemed to be racially insensitive in recent weeks.