A shudder went through the artisan cheese community when rumors flew that the FDA might ban raw milk cheese in this country as part of the recently enacted Food Safety Modernization Act.
Now, cheese lovers and producers are cautiously optimistic about the shaping of new federal food safety rules governing raw milk cheeses. Among them is Rogue Creamery’s David Gremmels, who spoke on behalf of producers yesterday at a public meeting attended by Food and Drug Administration officials in Maryland.
If you aren’t yet up to speed on the debate, current Food and Drug Administration rules permit the making and sale of raw milk cheese as long as it is aged for 60 days, a period intended to kill harmful bacteria. But after a wave of cheese recalls last year (and the shut down of Washington’s Sally Jackson Cheeses), rumors swirled that the FDA would restrict rules or even ban the sale of raw milk cheese.
Gremmels spoke Wednesday at an FDA meeting about preventive controls for cheese facilities, and Tweets from American Cheese Society president Christine Hyatt suggested things went well. One good sign: an FDA representative will attend the ACS conference in August in Montreal.
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