Here’s an excerpt from a recent Toronto Star story titled “Cheese Stores Say Quebec Rules Go Whey Too Far”:
“MONTREAL–At the pungent Fromagerie Atwater, one of the best-known cheese shops in Montreal, patrons feast their eyes on a glass display case piled with cheeses.
With the help of the maroon-smocked experts behind the counter, patrons carefully choose their pleasures, with an increasing proportion from Quebec.
But unbeknownst to many, there is a cheese war going on in Quebec.
Since a listeriosis crisis sent Quebec into a frenzy last fall, you could cut the tension between cheesemakers and the provincial regulator with, well, a cheese knife.
Producers say the crisis was overblown, with millions of dollars in cheese thrown out. And the reaction since has been overkill, many add, especially those who use unpasteurized milk, said to make more flavourful cheese.
“We have the impression that the government wants raw-milk cheese producers to disappear,” said Louis Arsenault, co-owner of La Fromagerie des Grondines and president of the Artisanal Cheesemaker’s Association of Quebec.
“In wanting to protect the citizen, (they) are destroying the sector.”
Arsenault says half the raw-milk cheese producers have abandoned their passion and turned to pasteurization. Others are on shaky financial ground.
Artisans denounce the “severe” and now monthly inspections, as well as Quebec’s strict microbiological standards. Some question the testing methods of MAPAQ, the provincial ministry of agriculture, fisheries and food….”