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No More Raw Milk Cheese?

Updated on January 17, 2012
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Goats, not just cows, provide alot of milk for raw milk cheeses.
Goats, not just cows, provide alot of milk for raw milk cheeses.

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.

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.

Interview With An Artisan Cheesemaker

Making Artisan Cheese At A Small Dairiy

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    • Sindee Palomino profile image

      Sindee Palomino 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for a much needed article! Anyone who wants, not only tasty cheese, but wants to know the the issue from the basics-raw milk-should check out www.rawmilk.org especially check out the report written by two doctors, submitted by two lawyers to each County Board of Supervisors for Los Angeles County in California. The report shows why it is actually the Pasteurized milk that is more dangerous for a person, not raw milk and the real reason why the big milk dairies push for the pasteurization laws (its a gross reason) A real eye opener! The report is long, about 50 pages if I remember, and includes backup studies and other info. proving the real reason why raw milk is better for you and why pasteurization got started full scale in the first place. The direct link to that report on the raw milk site is http://www.rawmilk.org/pdf/report-in-favor-of-raw-... I printed out the report so I could read it a my leisure. As you can see, it is a PDF file. Definitely worth the read.

    • angel115707 profile image

      Angel Ward 

      7 years ago from Galveston, TX

      Really enjoyed this hub, I recently located a local farm that sells goat cheese and soap, and I am hoping to go soon!

    • profile image

      Sherry from Ecuador 

      8 years ago

      I live on a ranch in Ecuador. We, and most of our neighbors, make an artisan cheese which is very appreciated in the whole country. They used to wrap it in banana leaves which gave it a distinctly delicious flavor. Now, it's wrapped in plastic which is not the same. You wouldn't hear of govt closing down ranches which produce this cheese. There would probably be a huge uproar if that happened. Just different points of view from different places on this planet.

    • Katelyn Weel profile image

      Katelyn Weel 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very well said, this is happening more and more, in Canada as well. Small businesses are being stomped out by monster corporations and you said it best, bland and tasteless food is the result.

      Thank you for writing this hub!

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      well written hub on an important topic.

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