Kill the Cheese before it kills you
- Now the FDA is doing its best to put cheesemakers out of business by preventing them from using traditional methods.
The latest foodmakers to face destruction from the Food and Drug Adminstration's (FDA) need to regulate all the things: artisanal cheesemakers. As part of a new push to enforce certain aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), passed in 2011, the agency announced that it will no longer allow cheesemakers to use wooden boards in the aging process reports Reason Magazine.
"A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community," notes Jeanne Carpenter at Cheese Underground, a blog for artisanal cheesemakers. Traditionally, the FDA has mostly deferred cheese inspections to the states. But the FDA recently inspected several New York cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age cheeses.
The FDA claims "The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products."
|"Put the cheese down and no one gets hurt."|
The fascist food Nazi FDA is cracking down on cheese that is
aged on wooden planks. Never mind that this aging process has been
used for hundreds of years with no problems.
The fact that wood's porousness allows it to retain bacteria is actually one reason why cheesemakers use this method. Not all bacteria is bad. Cheese, yogurt, kombucha, tempeh, and other foods containing live active cultures can actually be incredibly beneficial for humans' immune system and overall health.
Many of the most awarded and well-respected American cheeses are aged on wooden boards, according to Cheese Underground. "The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years," Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli—who developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards—told the blog.
|Not allowing American cheesemakers to use this practice puts them "at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated. This is a major game changer for the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and many other states."|
Cheesemakers importing to the United States will be subject to the same wooden board ban, which in effect means we'll just miss out on a lot of cheese imports.
The European Union—not generally known to fuck around on food safety—is totally cool with the use of wood boards in aging cheese (as is Canada). In fact, certain types of cheese must be aged on wood in order to get the designation (Comte, Beaufort, Reblochon).
See more at Reason.com
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