Origins of the Regulation of Raw Milk Cheeses In the United States
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CitationOrigins of the Regulation of Raw Milk Cheeses In the United States (2005 Third Year Paper)
AbstractArtisanal cheese constitutes a subcategory of specialty cheese whose manufacture is characterized by its small scale, limited volume production, and individualistic producers. In recent years, artisanal cheese has been the fastest growing sector of the dairy products industry. This value-added product enables small dairy farmers to survive in the modern economy. The industryâ€™s success has been limited by federal regulations which essentially require the use of pasteurized milk in all cheeses that are not aged for 60 days at temperatures not less than 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Although states retain the authority to permit all raw milk cheeses to be sold in intrastate commerce, very few have chosen to do so. As a result, U.S. artisanal cheese-makers, unlike their European counterparts, cannot sell fresh raw milk cheeses and have been confined to making hard, aged cheeses. At present, the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of raw milk aged cheeses, threatening to halt the growth of the entire industry. This paper explores the origins of federal and state regulations affecting cheese in order to demonstrate that they were devised to suit the needs of large-scale manufacture rather than artisanal production. It explains the success of artisanal cheese movement in terms of postmodern consumer theory and recommends that state governments should act to protect and encourage the production of raw milk cheeses for intrastate sale.
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