Well if you have not yet read Russell Neches post on wooden cheeseboards and the FDA you should. Cheeseboards on the chopping block : Survival on wood and plastic surfaces. I am writing here as a follow up to that to just point out some of the varied coverage of the FDA vs. the cheesemakers story that is continuing.
First the responses were pretty strong. Some examples are below:
- NPR has a somewhat clickbaity title for an article: Has The FDA Brought On A Cheese Apocalypse? Probably Not
- The New York Times on June 10 had an article that was a bit pessimistic F.D.A. Rule May Alter Cheese-Aging Process.
- SF Chronicle: FDA decision puts cheese making in peril
- VOX: The FDA is cracking down on wood-aged cheese – and it’s a terrible idea
- The Post Standrard: Ban ‘wood-aged’ cheese? FDA says yes; New York’s artisan cheesemakers …
- Washington Post: Is the FDA waging a war on artisanal cheese?
- Slate: The FDA Is Waging a Misguided War on Bacteria That Make Cheese Taste Good
But then the FDA “clarified” their stance and the tone of the articles started to change
- Here is the FDAs clarification from June 11. Clarification on Using Wood Shelving in Artisanal Cheesemaking
- Jezebel has an article about the FDA reversing stance: FDA Abruptly Reverses Stance on Wooden Aging Boards for Cheese
- Reuters: US FDA moves to dampen fears it will ban cheese aged on wood
- LA Times: End of the cheese world averted; FDA says wooden shelves are OK
- SFGate: The FDA Retracts Its Stance on Aging Cheese on Wood Boards
And now there is a hint that some of the coverage will become more balnced between the two positions. For example, the LA Times has a piece that is more supportive of the FDA than most articles I have seen: Wood-aged cheese: How science slices the debate over bacteria. This article, by Julia Rosen, is also one of the more science-based articles on the topic. It will be interesting to see which ways things go in the next few weeks to months. Regardless, I would note – it would be good to get some more publicly available data on the diversity of microbes in and on cheese making facilities/boards/etc and how they relate to what ends up in the cheeses.
UPDATE: June 15
Some more stories to look at: