Photo: kaight_ashbury, Flickr
Are raw-milk cheeses healthful? Recent findings of Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria that causes Listeria, in cheeses from Montesano, Washington's Estrella Family Creamery in Missouri's Morningland Dairy unequivocally suggest the contrary. Both dairies, which were inspected by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) officials within the past few months, are going to have a particularly hard time defending their raw-milk cheeses, especially since it's just the latest raw-milk scare. Just last week, health officials found 25 E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to Bravo Farms' raw-milk Gouda being sold at Costco stores in Colorado.
When it comes to raw-milk, the conflict between cheesemakers and the FDA is not new. Many cheesemakers view the FDA as an organization of government officials with little or no experience on dairies. Sunday, the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project released a series of cheesemakers' reactions to the recent recalls of raw-milk cheese. One of them states, anonymously, of course, "I am concerned about any potential surprise investigations, because the investigators usually don't have any experience with farms at all," the cheesemaker told the Cheese Project. "The ones who recently visited here had never even been on a farm before; not a good thing in my opinion." Apart from revealing the incompetence of the FDA, their anonymous responses indicate that the health risks do not involve raw-milk, on its own.