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Dairy Facts 2016

Lawmakers Challenge FDA on New Raw Milk Cheese Standard

Dec 16, 2015

A bipartisan coalition in Congress is challenging a new federal standard that could greatly restrict raw milk cheese production in the United States. The legislators believe the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard threatens the artisan and farmstead cheese industry without evidence of risk to public health.

A Dec. 3 letter to FDA, spearheaded by Vermont’s congressional delegation, questioned whether the standard’s thousand-fold decrease in allowable levels of non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheeses would benefit public health, noting that non-toxigenic E. coli are “typically not harmful to humans.” They also questioned whether the standards were scientifically sound.  

“IDFA shares these concerns and will work closely with FDA to try to resolve these issues,” said John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards.

The FDA standard seeks to limit the level of non-toxigenic E.coli found in raw milk cheeses from 10,000 most probable number (MPN) per gram to 10 MPN per gram. The standard was included in the latest edition of the FDA Compliance Program Guidance Manual and a Compliance Policy Guide.

In addition to the Vermont delegation, the letter was signed by 19 other lawmakers. Read the letter here.

For more information on the congressional letter, contact Chelsee Woodey, IDFA director of legislative affairs, at

For more information on the raw milk cheese standard, contact Allan at

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