FDA Draft Report on Soft-Ripened Cheese Production

The Cheese Reporter reports in their February 8th issue that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), working in conjunction with Health Canada, has released a draft report on their risk assessment of soft-ripened cheese production using pasteurized and raw milk specifically for L. monocytogenes (Listeria). This risk assessment will be used by FDA risk managers to inform their food-safety decisions as they re-evaluate the FDA rules around cheese production.

According to the assessment raw milk cheese presents a higher risk of Listeria contamination than pasteurized milk cheese.

A major finding was that although testing bulk milk used to make raw milk cheese DID reduce the risk significantly, it did NOT reduce the risk as much as testing raw milk cheese lots (which is the current Canadian requirement for raw milk cheeses).

This draft assessment is submitted for comments beginning February 4th, 2013 for 75 days. Comments may be submitted to www.regulations.gov. The docket number is FDA-2012-N-1182

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