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FDA ruling could alter cheese aging process

MADISON - Wooden boards have been an integral part of aging a wide variety of cheeses by producers around the world for more than a century, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says they are unsanitary.

Wisconsin allows cheese operations to use wooden boards if they follow protocol approved by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. DATCP spokesman Jim Dick says officials there are still seeking clarification on the FDA ruling before making any statements.

"Until then, there will be no change in Wisconsin's inspection policy," Dick said.

The Roelli Cheese Haus in Shullsburg uses wooden boards to age 85 percent of its cheeses.

"It's a potential game-changer for the face of artisan cheeses in the United States," owner Chris Roelli told The FDA cited several New York operations despite state laws that permit wooden boards.

But Metz's analysis, made public by the American Cheese Society, didn't include the entire findings of one of the reports. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Dairy Research analysis said that report concluded that while some wood can hide some bad bacteria, it can be eliminated as long as a thorough cleaning procedure is followed.

Smukowski said she believes the FDA made its finding partly in response to the enactment of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which shifts the focus from responding to contamination crises to preventing them, and that it can create overreactions from the FDA.

"Without the boards, it will be the end of Limburger cheese made in the United States," he said.

FDA Backs Down In Cheese Fight

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pmjohnson1717 June 11 2014 at 7:14 AM

More regulation to end jobs from the tyrants in Washington. This government must be dismantled.

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16 replies
elkhartbiker June 11 2014 at 7:35 AM

The FDA is just another despotic governmental bureauacracy like the FCC, EPA, IRS, etc. These bureaucrats need to be reined in by congress. It's simple to do, just slash their funding.

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8 replies
stengernc June 11 2014 at 7:44 AM

Duh, it takes bacteria to create cheese so what is on wooden boards is part of the process. Just how many people have died or gotten sick from eating fresh store bought cheese. In fact, part of our human problem is that we don't eat enough dirt so we are super sensitive to bacteria....dump the hand sanitizer soaps, let kids eat with dirty hands, build up the immune system becore we kill ourselves with cleanliness and destroy our cheese.

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15 replies
Roger June 11 2014 at 7:39 AM

Just another attempt by the administration to destroy the U S.

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3 replies
jay love June 11 2014 at 7:54 AM

yet another example of ill thought out policy making criminals of honest, decent hardworking businesspeople? and yet another example of how this admin. under this president is the largest threat to industry, both big and small? these busy bodies who seek to make problems where there are no problems are the biggest problem and need t be eliminated. they will not be satisfied killing the coal and oil industry, now they want to kill off a very vibrant artisan cheese industry, whats next the wine industry? I am not sure we can survive another two years of these people?

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6 replies
chefjohnp June 11 2014 at 7:56 AM

I believe in good sanitation practices, but during inspections the 'gung-ho' surveyor's have at times gone too far. This is one of those times. People ate cheese soured in the stomachs of sheep for hundreds of years! We have come far from then, but to interfere with the process after all this time is absurd!

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2 replies
vendelavee chefjohnp June 11 2014 at 9:33 AM

The people who ate cheese soured in sheep stomachs built up a resistance to the bacteria over hundreds of years so they didn't get sick from it. Its the same when American travel overseas, you don't drink the local water in those countries or you will get diarrhea because you haven't built up a resistance to the bacteria in it like the locals people who have been drinking it for hundreds of years.

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6 replies
end3651 chefjohnp June 11 2014 at 4:23 PM

After it was found that cheese could be made without souring in a sheep's stomach, curing was done in wood containers crafted to look like a sheep's stomach. Wooden ewe?

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3 replies
Mike June 11 2014 at 8:37 AM


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3 replies
juancarlos6928 June 11 2014 at 7:56 AM

The Leftist Machinery in Washington came with another blow to our economy and freedom, all of them should be HANGED in the Nevada dessert and leave their carcass there for the vultures.

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9 replies
bob June 11 2014 at 7:57 AM

they don't look how cheese is made in other countries which is imported into this country

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3 replies
maggiemoe1950 June 11 2014 at 3:35 PM

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln

Nikita Khrushchev said before the U.N. in the early years of the Cold War. "America will fall without a shot being fired. It will fall from within."

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1 reply
ltdgovtfreedom maggiemoe1950 June 11 2014 at 4:27 PM

Obama is doing everything he can to make sure that America is destroyed & falls... Just take a look at the EPA, NSA, FTA, DHS, FEMA and all the other agencies that are not needed nor wanted by common sense Americans. He constantly disregards the law and continues to bypass congress. He diverts attention to issues by creating another scandal e.g. VA Health Care, Illegal Immigration, Obamacare... Remember Never Let a Good Crisis go to Waste! It's time to take back our America!

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