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Is the FDA Now Cracking Down on Raw Cheese?

The U.S. government’s war on raw milk appears to be expanding to include a war on raw cheese. The American Cheese Society is warning cheese producers to be on guard for a crackdown by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has stepped up audit activity and inspections.

American dairy regulations currently allow the sale of cheese made from unpasteurized milk as long as it's aged at least 60 days. But now, the FDA seems to be having second thoughts about the 60-day rule, with some officials arguing that pathogens are capable of surviving beyond 60 days.

According to Grist:

“Suddenly, in the last few months, the FDA has been involved in effectively shutting down two artisanal raw-dairy producers -- Morningland Dairy in Missouri and Estrella Creamery in Washington -- for the presence of listeria in their cheese. The shutdowns are highly unusual for the agency when there have been no illnesses reported; it's reluctant to shut down Big Ag producers even after people get sick.”

It’s entirely possible that the crackdown on artisanal cheesemakers has much to do with the federal government's expensive efforts to help corporate cheese makers sell more of their product. Big processors of both milk and cheese have been active in supporting the FDA's fight against raw milk.

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