Long-awaiting changes to Australia's rules and guidelines on the production and sale of raw milk cheese have recently been released by Australia's food standards body, FSANZ.
Subject to approval by the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation on 30th January, the new standards will be gazetted into law at the end of February.
ASCA considers the new standards to be a positive development for Australia's artisan cheese industry, as they will allow licensed producers to make a wider range of raw milk cheeses than is currently possible.
- New types of raw milk cheese will be able to be made and sold in Australia, but only under very strict conditions.
- The new Standards will be gazetted into law at the end of February, subject to approval by the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.
- Until now, only raw milk cooked curd cheeses have been allowed, and there are only a few examples of this type of raw milk cheese being produced in Australia.
- The new Standards will allow Australian producers to make some styles of semi-hard cheeses from raw milk, such as cheddars and some blues, although soft cheeses will not be permitted. The exact styles of cheese are not specified in the Standards. Instead, cheesemakers will need to demonstrate that a combination of factors such as starter culture activity, pH reduction, salt concentration and moisture content, storage time and storage temperature all result in cheeses that are safe to eat.
- The changes only apply to cheese made from raw milk, not other dairy products such as milk, butter or yoghurt
- The new regime is likely to be best suited to smaller farmhouse cheesemakers who have good control over the health of their animals and the quality of their milk, as well as the skills and experience required to make raw milk cheese.
- The changes are very conservative and it will not be easy for any cheesemaker to make raw milk cheese under the new standards.
- The rules and guidelines require detailed testing, control and recording of every stage of the process, from the dairy animals to the final product. And the relevant State dairy regulator must be satisfied that the milk is produced without pathogens, as well as resulting in a cheese that will not support the growth of pathogens.
- All of this must be documented in a detailed food safety plan settled with the relevant State regulator, and be subject to regular monitoring and audit processes, as well as final product testing for microbiological limits.
Members of the ASCA Committee have prepared the following document summarising the extensive changes to the Food Standards Code:
There will be more information provided over the coming months.
The Delicious. Produce Awards celebrate the best Australian ethical, sustainable, delectable produce. The 2017 awards ... view details →
As another year draws to a close, the makers and mongers are probably wondering... view details →
ASCA members and guests enthusiastically embraced the opportunity ... view details →
The second bi-annual Science of Artisan Cheese Conference was recently held in the UK... view details →
We know many in the Australian cheese community are experiencing tough times... view details →
It was a devine display of delicious dairy at the inaugural Cheese Lovers Festival... view details →
For many in the artisan cheese community, Autumn is a time to slow down a little... view details →
The position of deputy chief judge of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards is now open... view details →
ASCA member Cheeselinks is thrilled to announce the availability of Hafnia alvei... view details →
ASCA member Carmen Bateson reports on the recent workshop in Melbourne... view details →
Members can now access the Technical Forum login page directly from this website... view details →
Can cheese made from pasteurised milk convey terroir? Read on to find out... view details →
Welcome to our first newsletter for 2016! Our new Committee is settling in... view details →
Cheesemakers and dairy farmers should read the attached information sheet on NPE's... view details →
The Melbourne Farmers Markets is looking for cheesemakers to attend all markets... view details →
The Semester 1 webinar program for Australian dairy manufacturers has been launched... view details →
Cheese Please! A new Aussie cheese guide for retailers and cheeselovers... view details →
The sound of a European summer is the symphony of bells individually forged... view details →