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Ask the FDA to protect raw milk cheese

This petition had 3,516 supporters


The Food and Drug Administration recently changed the microbiological criteria for strains of non-toxigenic bacteria from 10,000 colony-forming units (CFU) per gram to less than 10, effectively regulating many raw-milk cheeses out of the market. 

This change comes after repeated threats to raw milk cheeses, including the proposed ban on sales of cheeses aged on wooden shelving, and detention of ash-ripened cheeses at US Ports of Entry. This is another instance where the FDA is over-reaching and targeting artisanal cheeses and traditional cheese making practices.

These changes in microbiological criteria doe not correspond to a public health concern, provide no public health benefit and it target small producers making cheeses with raw milk. These cheese makers make many delicious cheeses that have long traditions and excellent food safety records. FDA’s new regulations may result in the disappearance of many delicious cheeses from American cheese counters. This may seem like an esoteric issue, but it is a watershed moment for the future of artisan cheesemaking in the US. The rule making and regulations that are promulgated now will shape our industry for decades to come. WE NEED YOUR HELP!


1) We are asking you to sign this petition to demand that the FDA reconsider these changes in microbiological criteria and that scientific-based information be used when regulating the production of raw milk cheeses.

2) We support the efforts of the Vermont Congressional Delegation and other US Senators and Representatives in asking the FDA to stop its bureaucratic over-reach. At this time, U.S. Representative Peter Welch and Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy are circulating a letter in Congress building support from elected officials from other states.

3) Contact your elected official in Washington and ask them to support the Vermont Delegation’s effort and ask the FDA to respond to the following questions: Why did the FDA feel a more stringent E. coli standard for raw-milk cheese was warranted? What evidence exists to demonstrate that raw-milk cheeses produced under current practices place public health at risk? Has the science upon which this standard is based been subject to peer review?  Is it appropriate to apply the same standards to raw milk and to pasteurized milk cheeses considering that the fate of pathogenic bacteria and the public health risks associated with the two classes of cheese are known to be very different? And to what extent did the FDA consult with international organizations and producers who import cheese into the U.S. in proposing this standard? 

Thank you for supporting raw milk cheese makers. 

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