A holiday season with fewer cheeses

A story we’ve been following about the consequences of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). Edible Brooklyn:

The holiday season fast approaches, and with it comes the busiest time of the year at Brooklyn’s cheese counters. … This year, however, one name will be missing from the must-have list, and it’s a coveted favorite for cheesemongers and customers alike. … on August 15th, Andy Hatch, co-owner and head cheesemaker at Uplands, sent a ripple through the cheese world when he announced via an email to his customers that Uplands had cancelled production of Rush Creek Reserve. In his own words:

I’m writing to let you know that we will not be making any Rush Creek Reserve this year. It’s disappointing news, I know, and we hope that it’s not permanent. Food safety officials have been unpredictable, at best, in their recent treatment of soft, raw-milk cheeses, and until our industry is given clear and consistent guidance, we are forced to stop making these cheeses. I’m sorry if this throws a wrench into your plans for the holidays — it certainly does on our end. It’s not a decision we came to easily. Hopefully, our government officials will soon agree on how to treat traditional cheesemaking, and we can all return to the cheeses that are so important to us.

Wouldn’t it be great if the newly elected and more regulation-skeptical Congress passed and sent to the President a bill to roll back or repeal the FSMA and save endangered foods like Rush Creek Reserve?

One Comment

  • This might be one of those rare cases where a loosely organized group could actually bring off a successful lobbying result.

    Find a few hundred or so cheese afficianados from all over the country. Find about ten or so who can make a one day trip to Washington, DC to do face to face lobbying (with senators and reps, or with their office staff).

    Coordinate the few hundred irate constituent letters to both precede and follow up the lobbying.

    The lobbyists go to senate and congress offices armed with platters of cheese and crackers to share with staff and reps. Lobbyists eat some of the cheese and crackers while leaving a platter full for the staff and senators or reps. Rave about how good the cheese is, and how it is now banned by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.

    Tell the office staff or the reps themselves that this is their last chance to ever taste this wonderful cheese. Because it’s been banned.

    Ask them to amend the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 which banned it. Tell them emphatically that they’ll never be able to taste it again if they don’t.

    Some congress critters might notice and take action.