Constitution and legal framwork

CNIEL is represented by three bodies: milk producers, dairy cooperatives and private dairy companies

Together, the members of Cniel’s three bodies are building the future of the French dairy industry.

Cniel's values

  • Cniel is a privately run organization.
  • Cniel operates through voluntary commitment, driven by the shared motivation of its members to work together.
  • Cniel’s decision-making relies on unanimity (decisions are made unanimously by  the three colleges).
  • Shared responsibility, the result of the desire to work together, underpins Cniel’s work.

FNPL : National Federation of Dairy Farmers ; CP : ConFrench Farmers’ Confederation ; Coop de France Métiers du Lait : French Dairy Coop Federation (Dairy cooperatives) ; FNIL : National Federation of Private Dairy Processors

Legal framework for CNIEL, the French Dairy Interbranch Organization

The French State has recognized the importance of this organization and supports its action by making the implementation of all agreements reached by CNIEL compulsory for all dairy professionals (Rural code L 632–12 to 632-14).

What is a dairy community agreement?

This is the written expression of a decision made by the three Cniel federations on a specific subject. State approval of Cniel agreements makes their implementation compulsory for all dairy producers and processors. An agreement may have national or regional scope.


Cniel’s main mission is to organize the dairy industry in a coherent manner in order to promote its economic development.

Facilitate relations between dairy producers and processors

In particular by developing shared tools and standards for the entire industry.

Collectively promote milk and dairy products

Among consumers to help boost sales, anticipate attacks on the sector and respond with arguments backed by indisputable scientific expertise.

Funding and budget


The Cniel is financed by membership fees paid by dairy producers and processors. In 2017, these dues amounted to €39.2 million. Certain collective marketing campaigns are also co-financed by French and European authorities: in 2017, the co-financing amounted to €4.7 million.

Cniel membership fees

Set by a dairy community agreement, Cniel subscription fees are paid monthly by private and cooperative milk processors and producers through their milk collection companies, based on the quantity of milk collected and transformed.

The agreement on subscription fees is updated every three years by Cniel’s General Assembly and approved by the French State. The last agreement dates back to June 18, 2013. This State approval provides the subscription with “CVO” (voluntary compulsory contribution) status.


The current applicable rate is €1.662 per 1,000 litres of milk, broken down as follows:

  • €0.442 per 1,000 litres of milk for milk processors
  • €1.220 per 1,000 litres of milk for producers



2017 budget

The legality of Cniel’s use of membership fees is strictly monitored by the Financial Controller designated by the French Ministry of Finance. It takes part in meetings of Cniel’s Governing Board and General Assembly.

Decisions-making authorities

Decision-making authorities

Cniel is managed by two decision-making bodies composed of professionals appointed by the three federations. Decisions are taken unanimously by Cniel’s three federations. Cniel is chaired by a representative of each of the three federations in turn for a three-year term.

The General Assembly

The General Assembly meets twice a year to determine the general policy and key orientations of the association. It is made up of the three founding federations, each of which has a permanent representative assisted by 11 designated delegates.

The Governing Board

The Governing Board is composed of six representatives from each founding federation. It decides on strategy, action plans, resources and budgets, and meets at least four times a year.

Members of the Governing Board

Structure and services

Cniel implements the strategy adopted by the General Assembly. To do so effectively, it is organized around four divisions that reflect its support missions and services.

Regional support

Cniel supports the French regions through CRIELs and dairy industry laboratories.

  • 9 CRIEL

    Regional implementation of Cniel policy

    Cniel’s action is extended through CRIELs (Regional Dairy Interbranch Organization), which are non-profit associations. Their members adhere to one of Cniel’s three national trade federations.

    In 2012, the European Union recognised the Cniel and the CIGC (The French Interbranch Committee for Comté Cheese) as the of cial interbranch organisations for the cow’s milk sector. CRIELs, which are considered Cniel’s regional subsidiaries, serve as fora for frank and open discussion between regional dairy actors, and are an important link in the escalation of regional problems to national level.

    These centres implement at a regional level the national dairy community’s policy and decisions in the following areas:

    • Economy: economic monitoring of milk production and processing at a regional level
    • Milk quality: implementation of Cniel’s “germs and cells” agreement in close cooperation with dairy laboratories
    • Communication: implementation of local actions aimed at generating a positive image of dairy products and dairy professionals.

    Map of CRIEL regional centres in France


  • 15 laboratories

    Criel laboratories: monitoring milk quality

    There are 15 dairy laboratories in France, including one in Reunion since 2011.

    These laboratories analyse the composition and quality of milk in order for producers to be paid. Since the “Godefroy” law of 1969, milk from 70,000 French dairy farmers has been monitored at least three times a month.

    These controls are based on a dozen or so criteria, such as the number of germs and fat content. These criteria impact the price of milk, to promote quality.

    The laboratories are independent, often operating as non-profit associations under 1901 French law. Each laboratory is managed by a dairy Governing Board, composed of representatives of milk producers, dairy cooperatives and private companies.

    They apply precise, standardized analysis methods and technical procedures, as defined by Cniel.

    Map of Criel laboratories in France



Index de l’égalité professionnelle homme-femme