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FDA Agrees to Consider Food Code Change for Cheese Storage Temperatures

Apr 24, 2006

FDA May Consider Food Code Change for Cheese Storage Temperatures

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection last week 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 to revise the current storage temperature requirements. After reviewing the proposal, which was based on a paper commissioned by the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and compiled by the Wisconsin Dairy Research Center, the Conference recommended that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review additional data to determine that certain cheeses should be exempt from temperature control in the Food Code for 2007.

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 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.

"We're pleased that the Conference of Food Protection delegates have endorsed continued work in this area and have agreed that additional information should be reviewed by FDA," said IDFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Cary Frye. "We look forward to working on refining the Food Code so that our members and their customers have more latitude in how they market and display these popular cheeses."

If you have any questions about the new paper or the proposal to amend the Food Code for cheese storage temperature, contact Cary Frye at or (202) 220-3543.



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Posted April 24, 2006


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