THE FUTURE OF RAW MILK CHEESE IN AUSTRALIA.
FSANZ has released its Second Assessment Report for Proposal P1007-Primary Production & Processing Requirements for Raw Milk Products.
It will mean there are NO fundamental changes to the current regulations.
Despite rational debate, public submissions and scientific and technical evidence FSANZ seem determined to ensure Australian consumers are denied a choice of cheese made from raw milk.
Only political or economic pressure is likely to change this mindset. If you believe that we should have a CHOICE similar to our counterparts overseas please contact your local Member of Parliament and FSANZ at firstname.lastname@example.org before the comment period ends on the 14th of October 2011.
Summary of 2nd Assessment report p1007
FSANZ will amend the Food Standards code for Category 1 hard-cooked low-moisture raw milk cheese only. This means minor changes to the current regulations on milk thermisation, maturation time and moisture content.
The report postpones the final decision on other types of raw milk cheese until FSANZ conduct yet another review of category 2 and Category 3 cheese to clearly define the meaning and definition of their recommended category approach. The ongoing delay and past outcomes suggest that FSANZ are unlikely to recommend any major changes to the status quo.
The report also recommends a long overdue review of microbiological standards and endorses the ban on the sale of raw cows’ milk . Next year there will also be a review of the current regulations that currently allow the sale of raw goats’ milk in NSW and WA
The current special exemption for Roquefort and Swiss Gruyere , Emmenthal and Sbrinz will remain in place . .
Reasons To Object
1. Australian artisanal cheese makers should not be restricted to the production of Category 1 cheeses. Over the past two decades, international artisan cheese production has enjoyed a significant growth in demand due to a revolution in consumer interest. Many of these cheeses are made from raw milk and are recognised as having an infinitely superior flavour and authentic regional character when compared to similar cheeses made from pasteurised milk.
2. The purpose of the Australian Food Standards is to guarantee safe cheese – however the assumptions made in these proposals exaggerate the risks. There is no reason why ANY cheese made from raw milk should represent a greater degree of risk than those produced from pasteurised milk provided recognised international HACCP guidelines are adopted in Australia.
3. The proposals do not recognise the changes adopted by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority which recognise EU standards on raw milk cheese , and allow the production and sale of raw milk cheese in New Zealand.
4. The proposals do not encourage world best practice in cheese or milk production and fail to take into account the difference between the quality of ‘open‘ market milk and the controls on milk quality on the farm for raw milk cheese.
5. The proposals are anticompetitive and represent a breach of Australia’s commitment to WTO:
a. WTO Article 5.1 requires members to “ensure that their sanitary or phytosanitary measures are based on an assessment, as appropriate to the circumstance, of the risks to human, animal or plant life or health, taking into account risk assessment techniques developed by the relevant international organizations”.
b. Article 5.2 states in the assessment of risks “Members shall take into account available scientific evidence”.
c. Article 5.4 states “Members should, when determining the appropriate level of sanitary or phytosanitary protection, take into account the objective of minimizing trade effects”.
6. The proposals are overly prescriptive and do not meet the Council of Australian Government (COAG) guidelines on primary production and processing standards that stipulate an objective of minimal effective regulation.