A “small and disparate community of U.S. artisan cheesemakers” is anxiously awaiting the Food and Drug Administration’s findings on the health risks of raw milk cheese, reports Politico. The cheesemakers argue that raw milk provides their products with a richer and more intense taste which cheese made with pasteurized milk lacks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. The FDA currently identifies “soft cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, and Mexican-style soft cheeses such as queso fresco, panela, asadero, and queso blanco made from unpasteurized milk” as “unsafe to eat.”
“I think the rules the FDA are going to imply on cheese makers are reasonable given the risk to consumers,” food safety attorney Bill Marler told Politico’s Morning Agriculture. “It will be interesting to see what the FDA does vis-à-vis the aging of raw milk cheeses.” At the moment, raw milk cheeses must be aged a minimum of 60 days in order to kill bad bacteria.