Processors cheer Milk Marque report Processors have welcomed the MMCÕs ruling that Milk Marque is abusing its monopoly in the supply of raw milk and is damaging the competitiveness of the dairy sector. Secretary of state for trade and industry Stephen Byers overruled the MMCÕs recommendation to break up Milk Marque which supplies nearly 50% of raw milk in the UK. But he said: ÒIt is clear Milk Marque must reform its sales procedures.Ó Byers said the current system of Òprice discrimination strategiesÓ had been used to raise the price of milk too high. He also ruled that Milk Marque would not be allowed to extend its milk processing activities beyond the two cheesemaking plants it already operates. What remains now is for the OFT, in consultation with the industry, to debate how raw milk will be sold in future. Jim Begg, director general of the Dairy Industry Federation, said his members were looking forward to these discussions. He said they would shape a future for the industry which would Òinvoke confidence and security for both producer and processorÓ. Neil Davidson, chief executive, of Express Dairies, was relieved at the decision, which he said had finally put an end to many years of introspection and instability. ÒItÕs time to get the politics out of milk and give the industry a chance to breathe and develop,Ó he said. But the NFU has sought assurances from the DTI that milk prices wouldnÕt collapse during the next selling round. Milk Marque argued that farmersÕ prices for milk had fallen by 25% over the last two years and were Òcurrently at unsustainably low levelsÓ. MM said: ÒMore important than the MMC report is where we go from here.Ó {{NEWS }}