Raw milk cheese restrictions set to ease

By Nikki Dorrell

Raw milk cheese restrictions set to ease
New laws could see Australia and New Zealand's raw milk cheese laws ease, paving the way for tastier rinds.

Plans to allow for a broader range of raw milk cheeses to be sold in Australia and New Zealand are underway with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) calling for second round submissions for a proposal that could see the restrictions eased on raw milk cheeses.

Currently the Food Standards Code holds a very tight reign over the production and sale of raw milk cheeses such as those that have been cooked in production, including parmesan and gruyere.

Consequently the market is extremely limited and failing to meet demand, with many consumers seeking out a greater range of raw milk cheeses and ultimately turning to imports.

The FSANZ proposal includes requirements to allow for the safe production of a wider variety of raw milk products as FSANZ CEO Steve McCutcheon explains: “Under this proposal, other kinds of cheeses (for example, hard blue cheeses or cheddars) may be produced using raw milk as long as stringent requirements in the Code are met”.

“These include additional animal health, milking hygiene and temperature control requirements.

“Businesses would have to demonstrate to enforcement agencies that they are able to meet the requirements,” McCutcheon added.

If the proposal is accepted, the changes are expected to take effect in early 2015 and for those in the cheese industry and for cheese fans alike, this would be a definite cause for celebration.

Easing restrictions will not only satisfy the ever expanding palate of consumers by allowing for greater choice, businesses will also reap the benefits, enabling them to diversify and compete on a more level playing field with International producers.

As Simon Schulz, owner of Shulz Organic Farms says “We currently can’t produce the equivalent in flavour to a lot of raw milk French cheeses, using pasteurised milk”.

If it all goes ahead, it looks as though this will also have a positive effect on our economy, allowing our nations to provide what was previously only available from overseas.

 

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