The FDA is going after the raw cheese– in accordance with the U.S. government health agenda to eliminate raw milk sales in the US by 2020. This time it is Estrella Family Creamery and thousands of pounds of award-winning cheeses embargoed.
The Journal first published the Estrella story called Another FDA Cheese Bust on Family Food Ministry: Award-winning Artisan Raw Cheese Producer in Washington State two weeks ago. Since then a group of bloggers got together and sponsored a fundraiser to keep the family going and the cows and goats fed (more on this below) A nice article and slide show appeared in the New York Times, Business Day section two days ago.
The article had an interesting quote about the zero-tolerance mentality when it comes to the detection of a pathogen in a food product:
“If the FDA wanted to shut down the U.S. artisan cheese industry, all they’d have to do is do this environmental surveillance and the odds of finding a pathogen would be pretty great,” said Catherine W. Donnelly, co-director of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese of the University of Vermont, referring to the listeria testing at cheese plants. “Is our role to shut these places down or help them?”
Regulatory agencies should become better educated in these skilled crafts and then use their infinite resources to assist those who may have a safety problem to get back into production as quick as possible–since these operations are so important for the local culture and economy. If farmers and consumers want traditional and artisan food produced and continue their rapid growth, they also need to come to the aid of those who get unjustly treated, in the Estrella case by the FDA who stepped in around the state agencies. This is your chance to put $5, $10 or $20 or more down on this horse and watch this race play out!
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