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Bon Appetit v. Bonne Chance

April 2, 2008

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N. and I get very few magazines, and the few that we get are on their last renewal. We don’t really read magazines once they’ve had the once-over flip through, and that’s just not a good enough reason to get them. Besides, its a waste of paper.

One of the few that we do get is Bon Appetit, and we do continually refer to those issues that have not already been recycled. For the most part, Bon Appetit is pretty politically neutral, and that’s a nice reprieve (especially the way 2008 is going in the States).

This month (May, 2008), there is an article about Raw Milk, and specifically Raw Milk Cheese. Did you know that the retail sale of Raw Milk in the United States is illegal? Well, it is.

For a whole host of reasons, mainly Listeria (especially in the US), many Food Health and Safety Organizations around the world require cheeses derived from raw milk to be aged a minimum of 60 days. I’m actually not that concerned with Raw Milk safety, and as far as I’m concerned, cheese made with raw milk is probably better flavored than that which has been pasteurized.

I’m not playing down the importance of raw milk safety; quite to the contrary. The safe handling of the Cow-Share milk that N. and I consume is the only reason that we’re able to enjoy it.

I (N.) did learn some new things by reading this article. Before it I never really put any thought into whether my cheese started as raw milk or not. I’m not that adventurous after all I eat colby jack, cheddar, white american and mozzarella. That cheese section in Whole Foods I think it smells.

Did you know about the 60 day rule? More importantly did you know that it isn’t effective with soft cheeses anyway because Listeria can still grow in soft cheese because unlike hard cheese the pH doesn’t drop (that is, the acidity doesn’t increase). In fact in soft cheeses with that “bloomy rind” pH rises. Anyone interested in Brie now?

A better way to regulate cheese would be to regulate the quality of milk that is used to create raw milk cheese like the French do. Even that is not foolproof though since studies have found that dirty hands, poor cheesemaking methods and post production contamination are more often responsible for Listeria tainted cheese.

Personally I think that small local raw milk cheese makers are going to be a lot more careful with these things then large production factories. Anyone else thinking about the beef recall? I don’t know that I would buy raw milk cheese or not and it’s probably a moot point since I haven’t found a soft cheese I like the taste of but before you judge something as unsafe at least do some research and give it a shot.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2008 9:30 pm

    I read in our newspaper the other day that some unpasteurised cheeses are going to be allowed to be sold here in New Zealand. I’m quite excited by it – I like those mouldy stinky ones you see 😉 Experts say they taste quite different to pasteurised cheeses so I’m intrigued to see if I can notice a difference. So far though, I haven’t seen any in my local shop so I may have to venture elsewhere.

  2. April 3, 2008 3:47 am

    Hm, I don’t know the milk regulations for Sweden, but I would opt for the french version adding some hygienical regulations on top. How this will work is partly due to the culture in the area – in some places regulations are followed like they are The Word Of God, while they are tossed in a corner with a ‘Nah!’ in other.

    Duh! Now I’m into the “if they do this, you have to do that, but if they do that you have to do this”balance game. I should probably get me a lunch instead of trying to solve world problems. Great pick of the cow – captures the cow essence!

    Have you ever tried making cheese from sourmilk or yoghurt?

  3. April 3, 2008 1:58 pm

    Aw that cow is cute!

  4. April 3, 2008 3:10 pm

    I personally can’t tell the difference between cheese from raw milk and from pasteurized milk. Every time raw milk is mentioned, moms (in every yahoo group I belong to) tend to get up in arms and argue vehemently about the pros and cons of raw. But when I was in France, I had a load of cheese from raw milk. Never once did I get sick. But I also understand the potential risk of raw milk in our very industrialized dairy industry. Know your cow, then the raw milk and the cheese made from it are probably fine?

  5. becky permalink
    April 4, 2008 9:01 pm

    i spent 9 months avoiding anything that might contain listeria….to include deli meat, soft and semi-soft cheeses and milk that was anywhere near is expiration date. so i’m a fan of anything that keep cheese listeria free 😉 hehe p.s…my reason for avoiding said foods says hi and that she can’t wait to see aunt N.!!!

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