The latest ruling on cheesemaking literally stinks, and most Americans aren’t going to be happy about it. As most of us are focused on the fight against processed foods, the Food and Drug Administration appears to be fighting for processed foods — at least as far as cheese goes.
Hundreds of small business owners and artisanal cheesemakers were left aghast at a landmark executive decree from the FDA, which would ban the traditional method of aging cheese on wooden boards. Most cheese that isn’t manufactured is aged by placing it on wooden boards, a centuries-old practice with relatively few documented health conflicts or concerns. However, the FDA, after citing numerous code violations (and yet a lack of any scientific research) has decided to forgo its usual comment-rule making process, instead issuing this statement:
“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.”
Although the relationship between the FDA and traditional cheesemakers has always been a rocky one, this move would spell doom for the artisans who make the cheese, and the millions of people who enjoy it. Already, nearly 1,500 people have signed a White House petition to force the Obama Administration into getting involved. Others are going directly to the source and emailing the FDA.