Home > Federal Power > FDA pretends to back down on its War on Cheese

FDA pretends to back down on its War on Cheese

June 11, 2014
Mimolette Cheese

Mimolette Cheese

Over the last couple of days I’ve seen a lot of chatter about the FDA’s continued War on Cheese. Yesterday the CATO blog pointed out the FDA wants to ban the use of wooden shelves in aging cheese. This is what the FDA has to say about the use of wood to age cheese:

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.

Wow, the FDA wants to ban the use of all wooden shelves because “they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms”. Not because this has been proven to be an issue, or because there have been complaints. People have been making cheese this way for thousands of years; and yet somehow humanity survived… This is an example of an agency out of control.

Today the FDA backtracked a little bit… a very little bit. Here is what the FDA had to say today (vai this Forbes article):

“The FDA does not have a new policy banning the use of wooden shelves in cheese-making, nor is there any FSMA requirement in effect that addresses this issue. Moreover, the FDA has not taken any enforcement action based solely on the use of wooden shelves.

In the interest of public health, the FDA’s current regulations state that utensils and other surfaces that contact food must be “adequately cleanable” and properly maintained. Historically, the FDA has expressed concern about whether wood meets this requirement and has noted these concerns in inspectional findings. FDA is always open to evidence that shows that wood can be safely used for specific purposes, such as aging cheese.

The FDA will engage with the artisanal cheese-making community to determine whether certain types of cheeses can safely be made by aging them on wooden shelving.”

The emphasis was added by me. Notice how the FDA is saying they are “open to evidence” that disproves their stance. They are not using things such as science or consumer complaints to make regulatory policy. Instead they have arbitrarily taken a stance and want others to spend time and money disproving  that stance. This is not backing down. Rather it is the FDA releasing a statement to allow this story to ‘blow over’ and will continue to wage its war on cheese regardless of this statement.

The war on cheese is nothing new for the FDA. It was a year a go that the FDA prevented a ton of mimolette cheese from being imported because some people might be allergic to the mites used in its creation. Both the battle against the mimolette cheese for mites and now all flavorful cheese varieties for using wooden shelves have one big thing in common: the FDA has overreached it authority because something might happen. It’s just astounding anyone actually takes the FDA serious on anything.

PS. Lets not forget South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch has a similar War on Raw Milk.

Categories: Federal Power Tags: ,
  1. Individualist
    June 12, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I would like to read your opinion on the race for a new majority leader after the fall of Eric Cantor. Who do you think conservatives should want Kristi Noem to support – Kevin McCarthy or a new direction from current leadership?

    • Individualist
      June 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      I guess it will be McCarthy.

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