Sen. Schumer and Gillibrand Urge FDA to Clear Up Issues Over Using Wood to Age Artisan Cheese
U-S Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand have called on the Federal Food and Drug Administration to clarify guidelines on the centuries-old use of wooden boards to age cheese.
In a January the FDA said wood shelves and boards used to age cheese cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized, the agency has expressed concern over the possible spread of pathogens.
The FDA’s opinion has sparked concerns nationwide among cheese makers who said their ripening process was safe.
The issue started last year when FDA inspectors found the disease-causing bacteria Listeria at Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese facility in Schuyler County. The small farm producer uses wood boards to age their cheese.
The ruling has far reaching implications, farm cheese is a growing segment in New York, the state produced 75 million pounds of cheese in 2012. In addition the ruling could lead to a ban on wood aged cheeses from outside the country.