Monday, 15 February 2010

Raw Milk Cheese

I know its been a very long time since my last post. But I have a good excuse (really). I only found out a couple of weeks ago that I've scored tickets to the World Cup in South Africa in June, which has meant some pretty frantic travel planning. Anyway it's pretty much sorted out now, which means I can get back to putting a few more posts up.

And what better way to start than with the topic of raw milk cheese - rather than explain it myself, here's a blurb which Will Studd has prepared earlier (to use a handy cooking term):

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is seeking public comment on its recently released proposals (P1007) to change Australian Food Standards for cheese in Australia.

The good news is that if these proposals are adopted they will enable the production and sale of raw milk cheeses in Category 1 and 2, as described in the FSANZ Discussion paper in August 2008.


The bad news is that the proposals are very limited and cheeses made from raw milk in category 3, and raw drinking milk will continue to be banned.

It has been 14 years since the Australian authorities introduced a national ban on most types of cheese made from raw milk and raw drinking milk.

Since then FSANZ have granted only very minor concessions to imported hard cooked cheese types, and Roquefort after international trade threats and embarrassing media coverage.

Over six years ago, FSANZ agreed to review our application (A530/531) for a change to allow the production and sale of raw milk cheese, and an application for raw drinking milk.

The delay and past outcomes suggest it is unlikely the latest proposals will change much through rational debate, public submissions or scientific argument. But if these proposals are adopted without a challenge it will be years before there is an opportunity for another review.

Over the past two decades, international artisan and farmhouse cheese production has enjoyed significant growth in demand due to a revolution in consumer interest. Many of these cheeses are made from raw milk and are recognised as having an infinitely superior flavour and authentic regional character when compared to similar cheeses made from pasteurised milk. FSANZ has refused to recognise this trend and these proposals will continue to restrict the types of cheese that can be produced and sold in Australia.

FSANZ are obligated to seek public consultation by regulation on all proposed changes to the Food Standards.

If you think Australian consumers and Australian cheese makers deserve the opportunity to enjoy a complete range of raw milk cheese you can help by making a submission to FSANZ by February 24th.

So if this is a topic you feel strongly about, please make a submission to FSANZ. A friend of mine has put up a page here with a suggested submission (again prepared by Will Studd) - all you need to do is cut, paste and press send on your email. But get in quick - your submission must be in by 24 February 2010.


Gastronomy Gal said...

a very worthy cause!

Sarah said...

Oooh thanks for the heads up. The current set of laws are so backward, and we miss out on some mighty good cheeses as a result (not to mention the stifled potential of Australian cheesemakers). I'll happily make a submission.

Christopher Ganzer said...

There are only two downsides. Will is an extremist - not very Australian (oh that's right he's a Pom).

When someone stuffs it up and gives everyone food poisoning we end up like Garabaldi meats in the mid 1990's. Buggered without an industry.

Sarah from said...

Beware the Cheese Police!!

I'd love to try some... but there is usually a reason why food is banned outright!


Sarah iatebrisbane