Gourmet cheese supporters battle over feds' health concerns

young man eating cheese and bread reading newspaper
young man eating cheese and bread reading newspaper

Supporters of gourmet cheese made from raw milk are squaring off with the government, which is cracking down after finding contamination at two dairies: Missouri's Morningland Dairy and Estrella Family Creamery of Montesano, Wash. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently recalled cheese from those dairies over concerns that eating them could sicken consumers.

At the center of the issue is the use of raw milk in the cheeses. Proponents tout health benefits. But opponents said raw milk can carry dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. Pasteurization heats the milk to kill bacteria, according to the FDA. Since 1998, more than 800 people across the nation have gotten sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk.