Report Demonstrates Safety of Some Cheeses above Refrigeration Temperatures
A new report commissioned by the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and compiled by the Wisconsin Dairy Research Center provides supporting evidence for an exemption to strict refrigeration requirements for certain cheeses at retail.
Based on the report, the cheeses that NCI believes should be exempt from refrigeration requirements during ripening, storage, shipping and display are: asiago (medium/old), cheddar, colby, feta, monterey jack, muenster, parmesan, provolone, romano, swiss/emmentaler and pasteurized process cheese manufactured to the standard of identity.
Currently, cheeses and other dairy products fall under the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Food Code definition of potentially hazardous foods. However, an exhaustive review of the scientific literature provides substantial evidence that certain cheeses have inherent characteristics that prevent the growth of bacterial pathogens, especially at elevated ripening and storage temperatures.This report is awaiting publication, but is available for review and can be used now in discussing the issue with customers. Please note that the report is NOT for reproduction, reprinting or excerpting at this time. Members can click here for a copy of the report.
"We're very satisfied with the quality of the review, and are pleased with its conclusions," said IDFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Cary Frye. "We look forward to working on refining the Food Code so that are members and their customers have more latitude in how they market these popular cheeses."
Based on the paper, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection has submitted a proposal to the Conference of Food Protection, recommending that the Food Code be amended to exempt specific cheeses from the definition of "potentially hazardous food" and the current storage temperature requirements. The conference will meet in mid-April to consider this proposal. If you have any questions about the use of the new paper or the proposal to amend the Food Code for cheese storage temperature, contact Cary Frye at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3543.
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Posted February 27, 2006