Oldways Cheese Coalition
Curds | Cultures | Communities


Raw Milk Cheese

We are strong proponents of raw milk (unpasteurized) cheese. We believe that consumers should have the right to decide for themselves. We provide them with unbias peer-reviewed resources to make an educated decision. 

Raw milk cheese is not only traditional, it is as old as cheese itself. In fact, until Louis Pasteur came along in the mid 19th century, all milk was raw by default.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, microbial organisms are not only responsible for food spoilage they are also fundamental to food preservation. Cheese, like any other fermented food (wine, beer, bread, sauerkraut, to name a few), is a complex interaction between raw ingredients and the ambient microbes in our environment. In reality, very few bacteria are “bad” (i.e. pathogenic) and the good bacteria in cheese ensures that the product remains safe to consume by outcompeting undesirable pathogens.

Ambient bacteria in raw milk, and other microflora present in dairy before heat-treatment, lend a great deal of flavor to the final product that is all but eliminated when the milk is “cooked.” What’s more, there is an expanding body of scientific literature that suggests that food rich in probiotics (i.e. cheese, yogurt, and other fermented foods) are really quite healthy, providing essential vitamins and minerals and potentially helpful with respect to allergies, asthma, and a host of other health concerns.

You can read more on Raw Milk Cheese on our Hot Topics section.

Since 2015, we have coordinated celebrations around the world to promote traditional cheeses. Find our more about our Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day.

In the US the FDA regulates the sale of raw milk cheeses. You can read more about current regulation here. In 2015, we conducted a survey on attitudes towards raw milk cheese consumption and purchasing habits, you can read a summary or results and our comments to the FDA.