A Law to Stop Liars? Farm Market Fraud

Here’s an article from Modern Farmer talking about an effort to prevent Farmer’s Market Fraud in California. I really don’t think that this is the answer. I do think that people need to be more educated so they can make the most intelligent choices possible, but if there are certifications, then there are regulatory oversights, and we all know that inspectors are the most trustworthy people of all, right? Sarcasm is inherent in that statement. I just think that people need to be informed and educated about their food and then when they ask questions of the seller of the product, they can tell if they are answering truthfully or not.

I know, I am too altruistic. Just look at how the “organic” program has been co-opted. Look at how people have perceived the “USDA Prime” and “Grade A” stamps. They thought they meant these were good things that someone who actually cared took a look at. I don’t believe agencies can fix the problems. People, and integrity combined with education, CAN. Sigh.

Here is the article: (click on the title for the source)

Stamping Out Farmers Market Fraud

 

A new task force in California will be dedicated to stamping out farmers market fraud. Is this a problem nationwide? We called up the director of New York City’s biggest greenmarkets to find out.

Last week, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed a bill authorizing a million dollars to, as NPR puts it, “deploy a small army of inspectors to farmers markets around the state.” This is following a few well-publicized incidents of farmers market fraud, or FMF (as nobody calls it).

It should be no surprise that farmers markets are occasionally home to fraudulent or misleading behavior; small producers are notoriously strapped for cash, and farmers market profits can be the difference between making money and losing it. Farmers might be tempted to fudge the truth a bit, by bringing in produce they didn’t grow — or in the worst cases, produce they purchased from the same retail or wholesale channels that their customers could frequent themselves, with a significant price bump.

Los Angeles in particular has had a rough go of FMF in the past few years; this LA Times investigation from last year showed some pretty unsavory practices, including bringing in imported fruit from Mexico. The new bill will send forth inspectors to check for telltale signs of produce grown by somebody else. But how is that even done?

We called up Michael Hurwitz, director of the greenmarket program at GrowNYC, the non-profit organization that runs and monitors the majority of New York City’s markets, including its largest ones in Union Square and Grand Army Plaza, to ask about farmers market fraud. “There’s no other food location in New York City that has such a strict oversight,” he says about GrowNYC’s policies and policing. “No other retailer is as strict as we are.”

GrowNYC is a producer-only market, which means that the booths at the farmers market are only allowed to sell what they’ve produced themselves. No reselling is allowed whatsoever, whether you sell goat meat or fairytale eggplants or shoofly pie. In order to maintain that position, GrowNYC has a very robust inspection system, with a few different types of inspectors: All market managers can inspect the individual booths, and they also employ dedicated inspectors to head out to the farms and make sure everything’s legit. Every single year, all producers must submit a crop plan, which includes estimates of yield, specific products they intend to bring to market, and the dates at which they’ll bring them.

Then there are random checks at the market themselves, which vary mostly based on quantity: Heavy producers get inspected more. The inspectors are looking for anything that doesn’t jibe with the crop plan, or anything suspicious, like waxed fruit or boxes from retailers. “Some folks we’ll inventory weekly for a month at a time, so we can get a full picture of their entire product line, if they’re someone with a substantial amount of product,” says Hurwitz. “Otherwise, once every few months.” The farmers don’t know when the inspection is happening; it’s a delicate balance for the inspectors, because the inventory can be burdensome and time-consuming. Not to mention, GrowNYC’s main objective is to help farmers, not annoy them. But Hurwitz was very firm that the inspections are very, very serious, and that GrowNYC won’t hesitate to kick farmers out of the program or fine them if there are violations.

Farm inspections are less frequent; there are about 60 to 75 inspections on the farms per year, out of 240 current vendors. “Roughly a quarter of our farmers are being inspected on farm every year,” says Hurwitz, but some of the big farmers may be inspected three or five times a year. It’s worth noting that GrowNYC is not in the business of certifying organic, but for the farmers that do make that claim, they’ll take a look around to make sure nothing distinctly un-organic is going on at the farm.

It’s very rare that GrowNYC has a problem with its farmers; Hurwitz estimates there are 6-10 violations per year. Usually, he says, those are simple things, like a farmer without enough to sell bringing a neighbor’s products to the market. That kind of thing would usually just result in a fine. But what’s the worst offense a New York farmer can make? “An extreme case is when somebody brings in product from outside the region,” says Hurwitz. “That’s like, a class A felony. That will get you an immediate suspension. That’s the one we have absolutely no tolerance for.”

New York City’s markets are a bit unusual and certainly different from Los Angeles’s in that New York’s are wholly producer-driven. There are markets, says Hurwitz, like some in Los Angeles, that allow reselling. “As long as they’re transparent about that, I think that’s totally fine and legitimate,” he says, but that transparency is why Governor Brown needed to dedicate a million dollars for a farmers market fraud task force.

Hurwitz approves of the new bill; cost is primarily the problem for policing markets. GrowNYC gets around this by requiring that farmers pay a fee to sell in their markets. Fraud doesn’t just reflect poorly on the individual offender; it kind of ruins the whole enterprise, which is largely about trust — trust that by buying your groceries at the market, you’re supporting local agriculture, that your money is going where you want it to go.

 

 

 

FDA Warns Companies Against Things that Help Fight Ebola

This is perhaps the best advertising money can’t buy. If you don’t already get these companies products, you might want to.

Remember it took the FDA 30 years to admit that vitamin C was helpful in combatting another virus…the common cold. BTW, I just started with doTerra. So if you want to get into that, please feel free to email me about it. Young Living has the MOST phenomenal product for helping with eye issues, it’s called Ningxia Juice and it has been tremendously helpful in halting ocular migraines. I can also help get you into that line, although I am not a member. Dr. Rima has been fighting the FDA longer than many of us have been alive. While I haven’t used their products, I think I am going to get some.

I guess I take the contrarian position to the US Federal Government’s agencies. If they are against it, there might very well be good reason to use it. If they recommend it, probably best to stay away from it. Also, my opinions, experiences, thoughts and existence have not been tested, approved, proven effective, nor sanctioned by the FDA.

Here’s the article:

FDA warns three companies against marketing their products as Ebola treatments or cures

 September 24 at 4:21 PM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent letters to three companies this week, warning them against marketing their products as possible treatments or cures for Ebola. The letters, posted online on Wednesday, document multiple claims from the companies or their paid representatives that essential oils and other natural remedies can “help prevent your contracting the Ebola virus” and in at least one instance, “effectively kill the Ebola virus.”

There are currently no approved treatments, cures or vaccines for Ebola.

Natural Solutions FoundationYoung Living, and dōTERRA International LLC all produce products that were promoted on the Web as cures for a variety of ailments, all without FDA approval. The products in question, the letters note, are not FDA-approved drugs, yet their marketing makes the sort of claims that only approved drugs may make — that they can be used to treat, mitigate, prevent and cure diseases.

According to the three letters, those promotions — either on Web sites owned by the companies or on sites and accounts used by paid “consultants” promoting and selling the products — included Pinterest messages, Facebook postings and blog posts claiming products such as “CBD Organic Dark Chocolate Bars,” “Clary Sage” essential oils and the “Family Protection Pack” can do what has not yet been done: Treat, cure or prevent the deadly Ebola virus.

In one letter, to doTERRA, the FDA outlined the extent of those claims:

“Your consultants promote your above mentioned dōTERRA Essential Oil products for conditions including, but not limited to, viral infections (including ebola), bacterial infections, cancer, brain injury, autism, endometriosis, Grave’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, tumor reduction, ADD/ADHD, and other conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners. Moreover, your consultants redirect consumers to your website, http://www.doterra.com, to register as a customer or member (i.e., consultant), and to purchase your dōTERRA Essential Oil products.”

According to the FDA, these promotions — especially ones related to Ebola — are inaccurate but not unexpected. “Oftentimes with public health incidences, like Ebola or even during H1n1, we see products that are marketed, often online, that claim to treat or cure the disease…without FDA approval,” FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Yao said in an interview, adding that “these sorts of things pop up” in almost any public health crisis.

In August, as the Ebola outbreak was accelerating in West Africa, the agency issued a preemptive warning to consumers, emphasizing that there is no FDA-approved vaccine or drug for the prevention or treatment of Ebola. The letters issued this week are something of a follow-up to that concern, Yao said, based on the results of online monitoring from the agency’s health fraud unit. The FDA will continue to monitor for similar claims.

Here is a sample of one such post, which was at the time this article was published available here:

Written by a paid consultant (referred to as a “member”) for Young Living, the post goes on to tout the possible benefits of a few oils sold by the company: “The Higley Essential Oil Reference guide mentions that the Ebola Virus can not live in the presence of cinnamon bark (this is in Thieves) nor Oregano. I would definitely add those two oils to whatever I was using.”

It adds: “I pray we don’t have to hear about this virus coming to the U.S. but if you travel outside of our country or know someone who goes to Africa or lives in Africa, maybe you could send them a care package of Young Living essential oils!”

In a statement provided to The Washington Post, a spokesman for Young Living said that the company was “cooperating fully with the FDA regarding its inquiry.” Young Living “members,” the statement continued, “are provided specific instructions on how to promote our products to their customers. In the coming days we will be contacting all our membership to ensure that they understand how to best use our products and remain compliant with regulatory directives.

“We have already contacted each of the Members cited in the FDA letter to help get them into compliance.”

One company targeted by the FDA, Natural Solutions Foundation, had materials on related Web sites promoting the company’s products as cures to several serious diseases and viruses, including Ebola.

On one YouTube video posted to the Natural Solutions Foundation account, the written text complains that the “WHO, FDA, the New York Times, etc., have gone on a rampage of disonformation [sic] to keep you in the dark about natural ways to dispose of dangerous microbes without damaging your beneficial bacteria.”

The video features Rima Laibow, the company’s medical director, claiming that the Natural Solutions product, Nano Silver, can “inactivate viruses like the HIV Virus, the Hepatitis B and C virus, Influenza viruses like H1N1, and Ebola virus.”

According to the FDA, all three companies have 15 days to respond to the documented violations and notify the agency of any corrective actions. If the companies are unable to correct those violations within 15 days, they’re required to explain why and provide a timeline for completion.

If they don’t take corrective action, the FDA could take any number of enforcement actions against the companies. Those include seizure, or possible criminal charges.

We’ve reached out to all three FDA-warned companies for comment.

The agency’s three letters are available here.

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

 

 

Startling? Not really…

The study that brings this “startling” information to proven status is likely the reason I dropped out of PoliSci. At any rate, it may be helpful knowledge for some, and with the stamp of academia upon the obvious, it can now be dealt with as factual. This is one of the myriad of reason why Missouri’s Amendment 1, “Right to Farm” is so horrific. We cannot affect the definitions and rule making processes very much at all. Hence the massive contraction of independent participation in actual agriculture markets and the death of the entrepreneur.

You Have Nearly Zero Impact on US Policy

 

 

A startling new political science study concludes that corporate interests and mega wealthy individuals control U.S. policy to such a degree that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

 

The startling study, titled “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics and was authored by Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin Page. An early draft can be found here.

 

Noted American University Historian Allan J. Lichtman, who highlighted the piece in a Tuesday article published in The Hill, calls Gilens and Page’s research “shattering” and says their scholarship “should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government.”

 

The statistical research looked at public attitudes on nearly 1,800 policy issues and determined that government almost always ignores the opinions of average citizens and adopts the policy preferences of monied business interests when shaping the contours of U.S. laws.

 

The study’s findings align with recent trends, where corporate elites have aggressively pursued pro-amnesty policies despite the fact that, according to the most recent Reuters poll, 70% of Americans believe illegal immigrants “threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs,” and 63% believe “immigrants place a burden on the economy.”

 

The solution, say the scholars, is a reinvigorated and engaged electorate.

 

“If policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened,” conclude Gilens and Page.

 

Lt Governor and Several Representatives ask DNR to Extend Comment Period

Many regular listeners of  The Power Hour are aware of this new “Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan” being enacted in nearly every state in the nation. Here in Missouri, we have received from very positive action from some of our elected representatives. Following is a press release about this action and the pdf of the letter sent to the Director of the Missouri DNR by Lt Governor Peter Kinder and other reps:

                                            July 3, 2014

              

Lt. Gov. Kinder, Legislative Leaders
seek more time on DNR water plan

Letter to director cites need for more public hearings
JEFFERSON CITY – Lt. Governor Peter Kinder today delivered a letter to Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, seeking an extension of 60-day public comment period regarding Missouri’s Nonpoint Source Management Plan. The comment period is slated to end Tuesday, July 8.
The letter, which also was signed by Sens. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, and Rep. Timothy Jones, R-Eureka, cited concerns about “the potential impact of this plan on agriculture, private property rights and land use in our state.” They asked that the DNR extend the comment period 30 days and conduct additional public hearings around the state.
The Nonpoint Source Management Plan is the state’s attempt to address nonpoint sources of water pollution and align its water management with new, more stringent federal EPA regulations.
The letter from Kinder and the legislative leaders said “it is incumbent on the DNR to ensure Missourians understand the potential impact of these changes while allowing those affected to fully comment on the plan.”
Lt. Governor Kinder issued the following statement on the issue:
“Few people are aware of this shift in management practices proposed by the DNR. The potential impact on private property rights, land use and agriculture are profound. We want to make sure Missouri doesn’t cede to bureaucrats in Washington control over how we manage our resources.”
###

 

Letter to dnr director Pauley.

Norway Study on Glyphosate and Missouri’s Amendment 1- “Right to Farm”

If anyone wants one more reason to have GMO food labeled, a very solid study out of Norway shows Round Up accumulation in treated crops to be excessive when ready for consumption.

Should Amendment 1 pass in Missouri, Monsanto’s home state, there will be even more uncontrolled GMO proliferation and spraying of Round Up and 2-4d. Amendment 1 masquerades as a protection against animal rights activists, but it will provide for complete factory farming in the State with no ability to constrain it left to the citizens.

Here are a few questions about Amendment 1:

•If it is to halt the animal rights agenda, then why hasn’t the legislature simply passed legislation to prohibit the most extreme of their activities?

•If it is to protect agriCULTURE as opposed to agriINDUSTRY, then why was the original wording specifically tailored to protect “modern technology”?

•Since we, and all other states, already have statute that prevents nuisance suits against existing farms and ranches, why do we need to change our Constitution? Do we have to protect our right to use an indoor flush toilet in the Constitution as well? Isn’t enumerating every single right of man a little beyond the pale?

•Additionally, who is going to define the terms farm, farmer, rancher, ranching, farming? Regulators, courts and lawyers…Do we trust them?

If you think protecting Monsanto, one of the proponents of Amendment 1, should be part of Missouri’s Constitution, then you should vote for this proposed amendment.

Read this study if you are still of the mindset that Round Up is a good thing. Think about telling your grandchildren that you voted to have them sterilized by the food supply because you thought eating herbicides was good business.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814613019201

As with everything political, you have got to look at the interests of those who are the major supporters of a proposed action. Cargill, Monsanto, Missouri Corn and Soy Growers, and the biggest proponent for destructive free trade agreements, Missouri Farm Bureau, are the major supporters of Amendment 1. Many members of Farm Bureau are the best people you may ever meet! Farm Bureau even does some things that are actually positive for real farmers. Amendment 1 is just NOT one of those positive actions.

Strong Arming El Salvador for Monsanto

This is just another example of the corporate control that dominates agriculture. Monsanto forces everyone to consume their toxic swill in the US unless they grow all their own food or buy ONLY from others or grow all their own food. This is just one of the many reasons why people who care at all about health and economic freedom should be against Amendment 1 on August 5th in Missouri. It is not about constraining HSUS from harming animal agriculture, it is about complete carte blanche for GMO’s of both animal and plant varieties in the State.

Here’s the article regarding El Salvador:

US pressures El Salvador to buy Monsanto’s GMO seeds

 

As one of the preconditions to authorizing close to $300 million in aid, the United States is pressuring El Salvador to purchase genetically modified seeds from Monsanto instead of non-GM seeds from local farmers.

According to Sustainable Pulse, a website covering developments related to genetically modified organisms and sustainable agriculture, the US will reportedly withhold $277 million in aid through the Millennium Challenge Compact if El Salvador refuses to purchase GM seeds from the biotech company Monsanto.

The website states that the stalled aid package was originally put on hold in late 2013, when it was revealed that Millennium Challenge Corporation would not deliver funds to the country unless “specific” economic and environmental reforms were made. Apparently, one of those is related to the purchase of GMO seeds.

Speaking with Verdad Digital, however, the president of the El Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technologies (CESTA) criticized the US negotiating position and said the country should back away from its demand.

“I would like to tell the U.S. Ambassador to stop pressuring the Government (of El Salvador) to buy ‘improved’ GM seeds,” CESTA president Ricardo Navarro said, adding that the move would hurt the local economy and only benefit US companies.

Navarro specifically singled out Monsanto for criticism as well, saying, “There is a harmful corporation on the planet called Monsanto … it is truly disturbing that the U.S. is trying to promote them.”

In Europe, too, Monsanto’s GM seeds have garnered criticism. In March, France banned the growth and sale of the company’s insect-repelling maize seed MON 810, just a few days before it was revealed that insects in the US were developing resistance to the crop.

The comments from Navarro also arrive as Monsanto is under fire in several South American countries, including El Salvador and Brazil. As RT reported previously, El Salvador passed legislation in September 2013 banning glyphosate, used in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticides, as well as dozens of other agricultural chemicals.

Similar proposals are being considered in Brazil, where the country’s prosecutor general recently urged the National Health Surveillance Agency to “reevaluate the toxicity of eight active ingredients suspected of causing damage to human health and the environment,” including glyphosate and seven other chemicals.

As for why glyphosate is coming under such heavy scrutiny, new research has indicated that while the chemical is not as dangerous on its own, it becomes extremely toxic to humans once it mixes with natural metals found in soil.

Meanwhile, other reports have linked glyphosate to the outburst of a fatal kidney disease that has killed thousands of people in El Salvador and Sri Lanka, and could also help explain similar situations in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and India.

 

No More Artisan Cheese for Americans

The FDA, Food Destruction Agency, has “clarified” their stance on cheese aged on wood. Short take, not allowed any longer in the US; and because of the lovely take over of all food granted them by the Corporate Board Members referred to as “Congress” under the Food Safety Modernization Act, no cheese imported to the US will be allowed to have been aged on wood either.

If you have thus far failed to see what is happening in this nation and across the world, I’ll sum it up for you. There will be no innovation and no creativity allowed. Our Heavenly Father’s creative attributes that He instills in us as we are created in His image is to be annihilated by rule, regulation, insurance premiums, or other “safety” measure.

This is an excellent article on the issue of cheese and the FDA. Don’t worry, whatever you desire to create/produce will be similarly regulated and destroyed…if it hasn’t already been regulated to death.

Game Changer: FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced it will not permit American cheesemakers to age cheese on wooden boards.

Recently, the FDA inspected several New York state cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age their cheeses. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA’s current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. Here’s an excerpt:

“Microbial pathogens can be controlled if food facilities engage in good manufacturing practice. Proper cleaning and sanitation of equipment and facilities are absolutely necessary to ensure that pathogens do not find niches to reside and proliferate. Adequate cleaning and sanitation procedures are particularly important in facilities where persistent strains of pathogenic microorganisms like Listeria monocytogenes could be found. The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained.” 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products.”

The most interesting part of the FDA’s statement it that it does not consider this to be a new policy, but rather an enforcement of an existing policy. And worse yet, FDA has reiterated that it does not intend to change this policy.

In an email to industry professionals, Rob Ralyea, Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science and the Pilot Plant Manager at Cornell University in New York, says: “According to the FDA this is merely proper enforcement of the policy that was already in place. While the FDA has had jurisdiction in all food plants, it deferred cheese inspections almost exclusively to the states. This has all obviously changed under FSMA.”

Ah, FSMA. For those of you not in the know, the Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of American food safety laws in generations. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

While most cheesemakers have, perhaps, begrudgingly accepted most of what has been coming down the FSMA pike, including the requirement of HACCP plans and increased federal regulations and inspections, no one expected this giant regulation behemoth to virtually put a stop to innovation in the American artisanal cheese movement.

Many of the most awarded and well-respected American artisan cheeses are currently aged on wooden boards. American Cheese Society triple Best in Show winner Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin is cured on wooden boards. Likewise for award-winners Cabot Clothbound in Vermont, current U.S. Champion cheese Marieke Feonegreek, and 2013 Best in Show Runner-Up Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar.

Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli says the FDA’s “clarified” stance on using wooden boards is a “potentially devastating development” for American cheesemakers. He and his family have spent the past eight years re-building Roelli Cheese into a next-generation American artisanal cheese factory. Just last year, he built what most would consider to be a state-of-the-art aging facility into the hillside behind his cheese plant. And Roelli, like hundreds of American artisanal cheesemaekrs, has developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards.

“The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years,” Roelli says. Not allowing American cheesemakers to use this practice puts them “at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated. This is a major game changer for the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and many other states.”

As if this weren’t all bad enough, the FDA has also “clarified” – I’m really beginning to dislike that word – that in accordance with FSMA, a cheesemaker importing cheese to the United States is subject to the same rules and inspection procedures as American cheesemakers.

Therefore, Cornell University’s Ralyea says, “It stands to reason that if an importer is using wood boards, the FDA would keep these cheeses from reaching our borders until the cheese maker is in compliance. The European Union authorizes and allows the use of wood boards. Further, the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few). Therefore, it will be interesting to see how these specific cheeses will be dealt with when it comes to importation into the United States.”

Ralyea continues: “While most everyone agrees that Listeria is a major concern to the dairy industry, it appears that some food safety agencies interpret the science to show that wood boards can be maintained in a sanitary fashion to allow for their use for cheese aging, while others (e.g., the US FDA) believe that a general ban of any wooden materials in food processing facilities is the better approach to assure food safety. At this point, it seems highly unlikely that any new research data or interpretations will change the FDA policies in place.”

In fact, many research papers do in fact conclude that wooden boards are safe. In 2013, the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research published a paper on the subject, concluding: “Considering the beneficial effects of wood boards on cheese ripening and rind formation, the use of wood boards does not seem to present any danger of contamination by pathogenic bacteria as long as a thorough cleaning procedure is followed.” You can read the whole report on pages 8-9 by clicking on this link.

Interesting side note: Health Canada does not currently have any regulations prohibiting aging and ripening cheese on wood, so apparently if we want to eat most American or European artisan cheeses, we’ll need to drive across the border to do so.

So what’s next? The American Cheese Society has mobilized its Regulatory & Academic Committee to learn more about this issue, and to ensure its members’ interests are represented. The ACS promises to keep us apprised of developments. In the meantime, if you are a cheesemaker, and your operation is inspected and cited for the use of wooden surfaces, please contact the ACS office (720-328-2788 or info@cheesesociety.org).

 

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