Regulatory concerns over the safety of raw milk cheese are like the mythological hydra of contemporary food safety research—as soon as one dispute is settled, it seems two more spring up. However, thanks to an exciting Kickstarter campaign, progress is being made. The goal of the campaign is to translate a set of groundbreaking scientific research studies related to the microbiology of raw-milk cheese from French into English. [We are thrilled to say that our Cheese of Choice Coalition contribution to the campaign tipped the scales and means this important project will be funded!]
Raw milk cheese is largely misunderstood by regulatory bodies and policy makers who assume that the presence of bacteria in food is by definition a bad thing. But that just isn’t so. In fact, recent scientific research has confirmed what traditional cheesemakers already know, that it is the presence of “good” bacteria in cheese that actually render it a safe (not to mention delicious and healthy) thing to eat.
The coordinator of the project, Bronwen Percival at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, gives us a glimpse into what’s inside.
“Within its pages, the authors show how protecting the natural diversity of carefully produced raw milk is not only crucial for maintaining the identity and flavour of cheese, but also promotes a barrier effect that can help to protect against the growth of pathogens. Rather than subverting modern food safety targets, this approach may actually help cheese producers to achieve them.”
The Cheese of Choice Coalition agrees with Bronwen and the scientists who conducted the study that this information “has the potential to transform the production and quality of artisan cheese in the English-speaking world.”
One of the CCC’s primary objectives is to encourage scientific and regulatory dialogue between the United States and the international cheese community. Alas, what we’ve been doing for ten’s of years, many European countries have been doing for hundreds. Our goals to see cheese produced in a safe, delicious, and traditional manner are shared and collaboration in terms of science-based prevention makes us only that much stronger together. This project is an important step in the right direction.
There is no other book of its kind in English and we are counting the days until we receive our copy. If you would like to contribute to the project or simply learn more, take a look at the Kickstarter page here. Pledges will be accepted until the end of August and contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the book (the first and only printing).
If you’re interested in learning more about the raw milk cheese debate, including the history of its production and regulation as well as links to peer- reviewed scientific studies such as the translation above, the Cheese of Choice Coalition will be publishing a Hot Topic article on the topic next month. Sign-up for our eNewsletter to be notified automatically or simply keep a regular eye on the CCC website for updates.