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EDITORIAL COMMENT: On Raw Milk Cheese, FDA Should Listen To Europe
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Raw Milk Cheese: FDA Gets Input On 60-Day Aging, Indicator Organisms, Other Issues
Several Comments Suggest Integrated Approach To Entire Production Chain, ‘From Farm To Fork’
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received approximately 45 comments from around the world in response to its recent request for comments and scientific data on raw milk cheese.
FDA in late July had announced that it was requesting comments and data that will assist the agency in identifying and evaluating intervention measures that might have an effect on the presence of bacterial pathogens in cheeses made from raw (unpasteurized) milk. The comment deadline was November 2, 2015.
FDA standards of identity currently allow for cheese to be manufactured from raw milk, provided that the cheese is aged for at least 60 days at not less than 35 degrees F. The agency specifically sought input on that 60-day aging period, among other issues.
“While the current 60-day aging requirement for raw milk cheese provides some protection against pathogen transmission originating from contaminated raw milk, the effectiveness of aging as an intervention differs by cheese type and additional risk reduction strategies may be needed for certain types of raw milk cheeses, such as testing of raw milk or finished products,” said joint comments submitted by Aljosa Trmcic, Rob Ralyea and Martin Wiedmann of Cornell University, Lisbeth Goddik of Oregon State University,
Catherine Donnelly of the University of Vermont, Kathleen Glass of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dennis D’Amico, University of Connecticut, Cathy Gaffney, Eric Meredith and Kathleen O’Donnell of Wegmans, Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm, and Nick Tranchina, Steven Millard and Rob Kaufelt of Murray’s Cheese.
For the past 60 years, the 60-day aging rule “has proven successful in producing safe cheese,” the American Cheese Society (ACS) said. “It is imperative that cheesemakers can continue such production unimpeded while FDA
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