Will New FDA Guidelines Affect Our Cheese?

February 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has completed a two-year review of its regulations requiring that raw-milk cheese be aged for 60 days for food safety reasons.  As many cheesemakers anxiously await the outcome of this review (which the FDA has said will be released in the coming months), many wonder how the new regulations will affect small, artisan cheesemakers that utilize raw milk to impart more flavor and “terroir” in the cheese.  

The New York Times reports that, “The F.D.A. has not tipped its hand, but some in the industry fear that raw milk cheese could be banned altogether or that some types of cheese deemed to pose a higher safety risk could no longer be made with raw milk. Others say they believe the aging period may be extended, perhaps to 90 days. That could make it difficult or impossible for cheesemakers to continue using raw milk for some popular cheese styles, like blue cheese or taleggio-type cheeses, that may not lend themselves to such lengthy aging.”  Full article.