Raw cheese products may soon be ilegal

Laws on the requirements of raw cheeses, which currently allows for them to be sold under federal law if aged at least 60 days (to kill bacteria), may see an extension on the aging requirement, effectively outlawing raw cheeses and some pasteurized ripened cheese as well.

Debate over the sale and consumption of raw milk products made national attention when police raided a Venice, CA food co-op in 2010, with guns drawn, to shut down the sale of raw dairy products considered potentially harmful by the FDA.

The issues and concerns the government has over the safety of raw dairy products are met with equally strong concerns conscientious consumers have about buying factory farmed milk products, which are often loaded with growth hormones, antibiotics, fungicides, pesticides and myriad other unnatural additives as well as pus from infected teats tethered to milking machines in non-organic milking production. There are also issues concerning certain pasteurization processes that some consumers believe destroy vital enzymes and other nutrients active in raw dairy products.

But the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that raw milk is a breeding ground for potentially deadly pathogens such as E. coli and some states have already banned the sales of raw dairy products.

Now, the FDA is looking at whether or not the aging requirements for cheese are sufficient in minimizing the spread of E. coli and salmonella. The agency is conducting a risk study, which is expected later this year and has raw dairy proponents concerned that it will lead to the FDA outlawing raw milk products entirely.

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Photo: Jill Ettinger