We are strong proponents of raw-milk (unpasteurized) cheese. We believe that consumers should have the right to decide by themselves and have 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.
Not only is raw-milk cheese safe to eat, it is delicious and nutritious. 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.
In the summer of 2015, we submitted comments to the FDA based on our consumer survey on raw milk cheese consumption.
Non-toxigenic E. Coli
In December 2015, we recognized that a new standard on maximum levels of non-toxigenic e. Coli was affecting traditional producers and in coordination with cheesemakers, we created a Petition to Protect Raw Milk Cheese. We asked the FDA to stop its bureaucratic over-reach. Our petition gather 3470 signatures, and over 1,700 individual comments.
Here you can see a copy of the original letter sent to Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration. This letter was signed by 24 members of Congress and submitted on December 3rd, 2015.
In January 2016, the Massachusetts Cheese Guild partnered with us to contact the MA Congressional Delegation and invite them join in the request for clarification from the FDA.
On February 8, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it will pausing their sampling program on nontoxic microorganism and agreed to listen to cheesemakers. Please read our Press Release.