What’s The Deal With Raw Milk Cheese?

While raw milk is a delicacy to some, it carries a reputation so controversial as to rival foie gras. Per the CDC, selling a gallon of raw milk to a fanatic today is illegal in 23 U.S. states. In 1949, the FDA passed a law that all raw milk cheeses sold in the U.S. must be aged for at least 60 days prior to distribution, via Cheesetique. But, says Grassland Beef, there’s no such rule in France. The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture says all raw milk cheeses require a “recognized foreign government certificate” to be legally imported into Australia. You won’t find a single form of certified raw dairy in Nevada, says Nevada Dairy Farmers. Why is it so globally divisive?

Since raw milk foregoes pasteurization, it has the potential to carry harmful bacteria and pathogens that can make consumers sick, including E. coli, Listeria, Brucella, and Salmonella. Even healthy animals can still transmit germs through their milk. For this reason, raw milk is a luxury that elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised people should stay away from. Still, in the hands of a knowledgeable cheesemonger, raw milk is nothing to fear. Adam Brock of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin testifies, “If a producer follows strict sanitation protocols and good manufacturing processes, the risk of getting sick from raw milk is low,” via Consumer Reports. (Enjoy at your own risk.)

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