Slow Food promoting raw milk cheese

From the 3 Wheeled Cheese blog:

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“Slow Food has been fighting for the rights of consumers to buy raw milk and the rights of cheesemakers to make cheese from raw milk for almost two decades, and its biennial event, Cheese, has long been a forum for publicizing the issue. This year Cheese 2011 sees the launch of a new Slow Food campaign site for raw milk, www.slowfood.com/rawmilk. As part of the campaign, an international panel of cheesemakers, experts and cheesemongers came together today to share their experiences and describe the situation in their own countries.

One of the countries with the strictest legislation against raw milk is Australia. Cheese expert Will Studd has been fighting it for years, but with little success. It is illegal to export raw-milk cheese and since 1996 the production and sale of all raw-milk cheese has been banned, with a very few exceptions. “Imagine a world without Parmigiano Reggiano,” he asked the audience. “When your country doesn’t allow this kind of cheese, it’s time to fight. We’ve been fighting for change since 1996 and government hasn’t really listened at all. They just announced last week that they are recommending no major change to the current situation.” He said the sale of raw milk would become a criminal offense. “The country that represents 12 percent of the world’s cheese production can set an example that could be followed in the USA, perhaps in Europe. It is worth fighting for the right to a choice.”

American cheesemaker Mateo Kehler explained how the situation in her country may also get worse: “We have a very precarious situation. The Food and Drug Administration is proposing doing a risk assessment which will lead to changes in the next 12 to 18 months.” Currently cheeses can be made from raw milk if they are aged for at least 60 days, but that could change. He said cheesemakers around the USA were organizing scientists to publish research on the safety of raw milk, and despite saying it would take a lot of public pressure to hold on to the right to make raw-milk cheeses, he was generally optimistic. “There’s a revolution happening outside the control of the government. People are voting with their forks and making choices about how they want to feed themselves and their families.” He concluded: “If it’s possible to sell sushi and oysters, it should be possible to sell safe raw milk.”

Elisabeth Ryan is coordinating a campaign in Ireland against proposed changes to the law that would make it illegal to sell liquid raw milk. She said the government was coming under pressure from the Irish food safety agency to present an international image of Ireland as a safe food country. “This ‘sterilization’ of food trumps quality,” she said. “We need to find a way to convince the government that with regulations and best practices we can minimize the risks relating to raw milk. It’s estimated that 100,000 people in Ireland consume raw milk and we’ve only had two cases of illness from raw milk in last ten years.”….”

Read it all on 3 Wheeled Cheese.

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