No More Raw Milk Cheese?
Artisan Raw Milk Cheese
Artisan raw milk cheeses are created by small dairies and family run farms. Normally the milk is organic and the animals are pastured and treated humanely. The cheese produced in these small dairies is always wonderfully unusual, with unique tastes and textures. The cheese can be made from raw milk, according to the US government, if it is aged over 60 days. This had been thought to guard against food borne illness such as listeria and salmonella. However, that could be changing soon.
Listeria Passes the 60 Day Test
The Food & Drug administration has recently announced that in their own studies with milk inoculated with listeria and other pathogens that they did find these pathogens surviving throughout the 60 day cut-off. Small dairies are concerned that this may cause the government to overturn it's own rule and create new, and more strict rulings about raw milk cheese.
The problem is, of course, that the more pasteurized the milk becomes the less character the resulting cheese actually has. Just like in hybrid fruits and vegetables, commercially raised meat and poultry, and even milk itself, the more man interferes with the original product the more tasteless and bland it becomes. Raw milk is far superior to anything else in cheese-making, providing the best molecular structure for superior textures and tastes.
Artisan Cheesemakers Unite
To head off any problems many artisan cheese-makers have come together to form The Raw Milk Cheese-maker's Association, based in California. Their goal is to encourage safe practices amoungst their fellow cheese-makers and thus ensure the safety of raw milk cheeses in the market place. It will encourage its' members to become part of the American Raw Milk Cheese Presidium, an organization that seeks to guide dairies toward sustainable farming practices, humane treatment of the animals, and voluntary testing of all cheeses for pathogens.
More About Cheesemaking
Freedom of Choice?
Amazingly Americans seem content to sit back and trade freedom of choice for comfort and perceived safety. Rather than make our own choices we prefer to snuggle into the softness of our padded cells, determined to enjoy our lack of freedom. Artisan cheeses are disappearing as fast as heritage breeds of livestock and heirloom fruits and vegetables, and even the family farm. Someday we may not have the opportunity to avail ourselves of distinctive foods because they have been deemed "unsafe". Truly, the unsafe foods are the ones that come from the big factory farms where there is no sense of personal responsibility or pride in a job well done.
Our media would get their collective panties in a wad if they caught wind of the government censoring a book, an art style, or musical lyrics, yet our food is constantly under censorship with a big stamp of approval running across it because we want to know we are safe without taking on that responsibility ourselves. We pay for safety in bland and tasteless food. And then we wonder why we over-eat.
Small artisan dairies and family farms need to be supported. These are the people that are making the safe, quality foods. Small farms don't have to recall hamburger because of e coli. Small farms don't have to recall chicken because of salmonella. Because they can't compete financially with corporate farming they are going out of business and we are allowing it. Soon our good food will become extinct and we might as well grab a handful of purina goat chow..it has more flavor.
As much as you can support these small businesses, encourage them to continue to make excellent foods. And make a point of watching with interest what the FDA decides to do about this ruling.