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And then they came for the cheese by Formula88
Started on: 06-08-2014 02:57 PM
Replies: 24 (396 views)
Last post by: whadeduck on 06-11-2014 10:39 PM
Formula88
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Report this Post06-08-2014 02:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Seriously.

http://cheeseunderground.bl...oden-boards.html?m=1

 
quote
A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced it will not permit American cheesemakers to age cheese on wooden boards.

Recently, the FDA inspected several New York state cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age their cheeses. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets' Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition's (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA's current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. Here's an excerpt:

"Microbial pathogens can be controlled if food facilities engage in good manufacturing practice. Proper cleaning and sanitation of equipment and facilities are absolutely necessary to ensure that pathogens do not find niches to reside and proliferate. Adequate cleaning and sanitation procedures are particularly important in facilities where persistent strains of pathogenic microorganisms like Listeria monocytogenes could be found. The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that "all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained." 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products."

The most interesting part of the FDA's statement it that it does not consider this to be a new policy, but rather an enforcement of an existing policy. And worse yet, FDA has reiterated that it does not intend to change this policy.

In an email to industry professionals, Rob Ralyea, Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science and the Pilot Plant Manager at Cornell University in New York, says: "According to the FDA this is merely proper enforcement of the policy that was already in place. While the FDA has had jurisdiction in all food plants, it deferred cheese inspections almost exclusively to the states. This has all obviously changed under FSMA."

Ah, FSMA. For those of you not in the know, the Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of American food safety laws in generations. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
...
Many of the most awarded and well-respected American artisan cheeses are currently aged on wooden boards. American Cheese Society triple Best in Show winner Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin is cured on wooden boards. Likewise for award-winners Cabot Clothbound in Vermont, current U.S. Champion cheese Marieke Feonegreek, and 2013 Best in Show Runner-Up Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar.

Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli says the FDA's "clarified" stance on using wooden boards is a "potentially devastating development" for American cheesemakers. He and his family have spent the past eight years re-building Roelli Cheese into a next-generation American artisanal cheese factory. Just last year, he built what most would consider to be a state-of-the-art aging facility into the hillside behind his cheese plant. And Roelli, like hundreds of American artisanal cheesemaekrs, has developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards.

"The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years," Roelli says. Not allowing American cheesemakers to use this practice puts them "at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated. This is a major game changer for the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and many other states."

As if this weren't all bad enough, the FDA has also "clarified" - I'm really beginning to dislike that word - that in accordance with FSMA, a cheesemaker importing cheese to the United States is subject to the same rules and inspection procedures as American cheesemakers.

Therefore, Cornell University's Ralyea says, "It stands to reason that if an importer is using wood boards, the FDA would keep these cheeses from reaching our borders until the cheese maker is in compliance. The European Union authorizes and allows the use of wood boards. Further, the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few). Therefore, it will be interesting to see how these specific cheeses will be dealt with when it comes to importation into the United States."

Ralyea continues: "While most everyone agrees that Listeria is a major concern to the dairy industry, it appears that some food safety agencies interpret the science to show that wood boards can be maintained in a sanitary fashion to allow for their use for cheese aging, while others (e.g., the US FDA) believe that a general ban of any wooden materials in food processing facilities is the better approach to assure food safety. At this point, it seems highly unlikely that any new research data or interpretations will change the FDA policies in place."

In fact, many research papers do in fact conclude that wooden boards are safe. In 2013, the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research published a paper on the subject, concluding: "Considering the beneficial effects of wood boards on cheese ripening and rind formation, the use of wood boards does not seem to present any danger of contamination by pathogenic bacteria as long as a thorough cleaning procedure is followed." You can read the whole report on pages 8-9 by clicking on this link.

Interesting side note: Health Canada does not currently have any regulations prohibiting aging and ripening cheese on wood, so apparently if we want to eat most American or European artisan cheeses, we'll need to drive across the border to do so.


So a huge portion of US cheese manufacturers get to retool, and most cheeses from Canada, Europe, etc. will no longer be allowed into the US.
I feel safer. Do you feel safer?

Maybe next they'll address the unsanitary process of having bacteria in the cheese making process.

[This message has been edited by Formula88 (edited 06-08-2014).]

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Raydar
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Report this Post06-08-2014 03:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
What. The. Hell... ?

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Boondawg
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Report this Post06-08-2014 03:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
In any health inspection of any of the restaurants I've worked with, the inspectors DO NOT LIKE wood in the kitchen, period.
In any form.
Utensils, shelves, counters, cutting boards, floors, walls, etc.
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Raydar
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Report this Post06-08-2014 03:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Boondawg:

In any health inspection of any of the restaurants I've worked with, the inspectors DO NOT LIKE wood in the kitchen, period.
In any form.
Utensils, shelves, counters, cutting boards, floors, walls, etc.


True, but it's not like it hasn't been used for... ever?
It's fine if done properly.

Of course, there's the tens and hundreds of people in the news who are dying from eating contaminated cheese. Wait...

[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 06-08-2014).]

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Formula88
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Report this Post06-08-2014 03:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wait until they find out about whiskey being aged in wooden barrels.
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Report this Post06-08-2014 04:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Tony KaniaSend a Private Message to Tony KaniaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I stirred my mac & cheese with a wooden spoon a bit ago. It was nice knowing you all. I would like to bequeath my pron collection to Boondawg. My manscape trimmers will go to Dan Damage. Etc...
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Formula88
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Report this Post06-08-2014 05:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
They were talking about wooden shelves for aging. That's typically longer contact than using a wooden cutting block or spoon.

Welcome to Hyperbole Anonymous. A Trillion members and growing!
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Report this Post06-08-2014 05:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Jake_DragonSend a Private Message to Jake_DragonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:

Wait until they find out about whiskey being aged in wooden barrels.


Lets hope they are not reading random Fiero forums, oh the humanity
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MidEngineManiac
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Report this Post06-08-2014 05:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MidEngineManiacSend a Private Message to MidEngineManiacEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Tony Kania:

I stirred my mac & cheese with a wooden spoon a bit ago. It was nice knowing you all. I would like to bequeath my pron collection to Boondawg. My manscape trimmers will go to Dan Damage. Etc...


Whatya mean the pron goes to Boon??--I had dibs on that, especially that one where the girl does that thing--yeh, that one. THAT thing

Oh, the humanity--I will just have to commit suicide by baking a salmon on a ceder board over carconagenic fire like has been done since time immamorial...

See you guys in 50 years when they let me out (if they do) for eating meat cooked on wood over fire....

[This message has been edited by MidEngineManiac (edited 06-08-2014).]

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Formula88
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Report this Post06-08-2014 07:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Jake_Dragon:


Lets hope they are not reading random Fiero forums, oh the humanity


... or the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
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Report this Post06-08-2014 08:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Raydar:


True, but it's not like it hasn't been used for... ever?
It's fine if done properly.

Of course, there's the tens and hundreds of people in the news who are dying from eating contaminated cheese. Wait...



You do understand I'm not defending them, but only relating personal experience?

[This message has been edited by Boondawg (edited 06-08-2014).]

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Report this Post06-09-2014 12:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for maryjaneSend a Private Message to maryjaneEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
bamboo skewers are next..........wooden toothpicks after that.
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Report this Post06-09-2014 01:11 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Tony KaniaSend a Private Message to Tony KaniaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:

They were talking about wooden shelves for aging. That's typically longer contact than using a wooden cutting block or spoon.

Welcome to Hyperbole Anonymous. A Trillion members and growing!


You mean I am going to live doctor!!!
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Report this Post06-09-2014 10:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for williegoatClick Here to visit williegoat's HomePageSend a Private Message to williegoatEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I guess if you whey the risk, it wood be gouda nuff.

Honestly, the regulatory agencies are completely out of control. I would not be at all surprised to find that public health was not their primary motivation.
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Report this Post06-09-2014 10:12 AM Click Here to See the Profile for heybjornClick Here to Email heybjornSend a Private Message to heybjornEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
wg, stop before someone gets hurt. You, for instance.
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Report this Post06-09-2014 02:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dsnoverSend a Private Message to dsnoverEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
There will be a black market for GOOD artisan cheese very soon.

Most cheeses don't support the growth of pathogenic molds. This is just more government overreach.
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Old Lar
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Report this Post06-09-2014 05:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Old LarSend a Private Message to Old LarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Does every one enjoy the changes that Obama's administration bureaucracies are bringing you? The EPA, FDA, VA, IRS etc are making you secure and safe in you home.
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Report this Post06-11-2014 09:13 AM Click Here to See the Profile for maryjaneSend a Private Message to maryjaneEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
http://www.forbes.com/sites...ht-over-aged-cheese/

FDA backs down, with the statement they never made a new ruling on this, tho Monica Metz's pronouncement contradicts that claim. They are crawfishing and attempting to "COA" in the face of strong public reaction.

 
quote
Good for the FDA for backing down. Although it’s unfortunate that they are dodging accountability by claiming they did not change their policy. The American Cheese Society released a .PDF version of the statement by FDA’s Branch Chief Monica Metz, the chief official responsible for food safety issues involving cheese. In that document she stated

"The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained.” 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products."


So let’s consider this a clarification, of their earlier clarification, which improperly characterized their official policy. Either way it’s good news.

This is also a lesson for people in other regulated industries. When government officials make pronouncements that don’t seem grounded in law or policy, and threaten your livelihood with an enforcement action, you must organize and fight back. While specialized industries may think that nobody cares, the fight over aged cheese proves that people’s voices can be heard, cheese expert Gordon Edgar summed it up nicely here:

Wow. Talk about a groundswell. This is the kind of issue that scares the cheese world because, while crucial to us, the surface a cheese is aged on might be seen as too esoteric or boring to draw public attention. Clearly this has not been the case here.


This is an example of why it is never good for one to sit by and accept anything one does not agree with, even if it does not directly affect the individual(s).
Dissent is a constitutional right and responsibility of the citizen.

[This message has been edited by maryjane (edited 06-11-2014).]

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Raydar
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Report this Post06-11-2014 03:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Post if you love cheeses.
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texasfiero
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Report this Post06-11-2014 08:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for texasfieroClick Here to Email texasfieroSend a Private Message to texasfieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I don't unnerstand! Doesn't his O'Ness wish us to be like Europe? How many centuries have the Dutch, French, Swiss, et al. been curing cheese on 'WOODEN SHELVES'?

Did the FDA Just Ban European Cheese?

[This message has been edited by texasfiero (edited 06-11-2014).]

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Report this Post06-11-2014 08:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doug85GTSend a Private Message to Doug85GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Oh man. Tobasco and Kikoman is aged in wooden barrels.

Is this the Hope and Change that the Democrats voted for?
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Report this Post06-11-2014 08:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for williegoatClick Here to visit williegoat's HomePageSend a Private Message to williegoatEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Raydar:

Post if you love cheeses.


I LOVE Jarlsberg cheese!



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Report this Post06-11-2014 08:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Old Lar:

Does every one enjoy the changes that Obama's administration bureaucracies are bringing you? The EPA, FDA, VA, IRS etc are making you secure and safe in you home.


They were around doing their duty (dirty?) loooooooong before Obama.
Although, I must admit, it would definitely be nice for me if I could tidy everything up in my head with that one magic catch-all word, "Obama!".
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Report this Post06-11-2014 08:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Boondawg

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Member since Jun 2003
 
quote
Originally posted by williegoat:


I LOVE Jarlsberg cheese!





I have just started loving it!
And Havarti.

I am trying new cheeses.
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Report this Post06-11-2014 10:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for whadeduckClick Here to Email whadeduckSend a Private Message to whadeduckEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Government overreach started many years before the Bama got into office. However he does have that mighty pen and phone he could use to put a leash on it. But seriously, how the heck did we even live before the EPA told us just how unsafe and unhealthy we really were and started to put us all into padded locked little boxes for our own protection?

------------------
Whade' "Darkwing" Duck
Fieroless (11/18/12)

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