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Raw Milk Cheese

tarepanda Oct 28, 2007 01:49 PM

Hi, can someone tell me which cheeses available in U.S. are made with raw milk? Thanks.

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  1. c
    crigg Oct 28, 2007 02:21 PM

    tub cheese? http://digg.com/offbeat_news/Californ...

    1. l
      LeslieB Oct 28, 2007 02:35 PM

      Organic Valley has some raw milk cheeses and is easy to find in most supermarkets. I am addicted to their sharp cheddar.

      1. d
        davebough Oct 28, 2007 03:23 PM

        Raw milk cheeses have to be aged at least 60 days to be sold in the U.S. Most that you will find are aged considerably longer. Lots of quality cheddars, both from the US and Britain. Many cheeses from Europe. The biggest problem for me is that it is illegal to bring in the really great Brie's and Camembert's.
        dave

        1 Reply
        1. re: davebough
          l
          Loren3 Oct 31, 2007 09:19 AM

          It may be illegal to import (i.e. commercially) such cheeses, but frequently I have brought back lots of quite fresh French whole milk cheeses as tourist items . I spoke with our DOA inspector at the international airport where I work, and he said they are worried about people bringing in meats and fresh farm products, but they don't worry about cheese.

          If you are leaving for Europe, you could always stop by the DOA office on your way out to verify their interpretation of the rules.

        2. r
          rrems Oct 28, 2007 03:41 PM

          A word of caution. Some stores label a cheese as raw milk when it is not. Gourmet Garage sells Epoisse from the Burgundy region of France. The sign says it's raw milk but if you read the box it says "lait entier" which means whole milk. The raw versions say "lait cru", and are far superior. I used to order it from a company in france, but they can no longer ship it to the US and are selling the whole milk version. Very unfortunate.

          3 Replies
          1. re: rrems
            maria lorraine Oct 29, 2007 09:01 PM

            Thank you for this.

            1. re: rrems
              tarepanda Nov 2, 2007 11:36 AM

              Thanks for the info. Which brings me to one question - I have seen little buttons called Tru de Cru, which is brownish in color. I haven't tried in but was told it's basically a mini Epoisse. I don't know French, but w the word Cru in the name, does it mean it's raw milk?

              1. re: tarepanda
                Ruth Lafler Nov 2, 2007 11:41 AM

                Probably. But it might also just be the name of the cheese. If it's really a raw milk cheese it should say "lait cru" somewhere on the label or package. Or you can ask the cheesemonger. It's probably delicious, though!

            2. danhole Oct 29, 2007 08:39 AM

              I don't know if these are available outside of Houston, but these women have more than one raw milk cheese, and they are very good! I especially liked the Texas Star aged cheddar.

              http://www.houstondairymaids.com/home...

              1. Ruth Lafler Oct 29, 2007 03:40 PM

                The answer is: lots, both US made and imported. If you're specifically looking for raw milk cheeses, you need to be more specific about what style of cheese you're looking for and then asking what raw milk versions of those cheeses are available.

                Do it fast, though. The FDA has been considering banning all raw milk cheese, not just those less than 60 days old.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  vvvindaloo Oct 29, 2007 07:46 PM

                  Can you tell us what significant threat the FDA is specifically concerned about that they would make such a move? Thanks.

                  1. re: vvvindaloo
                    Ruth Lafler Oct 29, 2007 09:03 PM

                    Here's an article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                    Basically, the FDA is saying their tests show pathogens -- in particular listeria -- can be present even in cheeses aged longer than 60 days.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      vvvindaloo Oct 30, 2007 07:03 AM

                      Thank you- this is just the sort of info I was looking for. Banning the importation of a cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano would be a great way to induce mass rioting- and quickly become the most-hated government entity (an impressive feat, indeed).

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler
                    maria lorraine Oct 29, 2007 08:57 PM

                    According to the Raw Milk Cheesemakers' Association, "the FDA did not move forward with the rule change. However, they have continued to produce reports which suggest that raw milk cheeses are dangerous. Many cheese producers and defenders of raw milk cheese are concerned that such reports are the firsts signs of a new effort to require that ALL cheeses be produced with pasteurized or thermolyzed milk."

                    The FDA is concerned about disease-causing bacteria in the milk. What's interesting is the argument could be made that there are health benefits to drinking raw milk. The source of the raw milk is critical; a certified organic dairy is probably a must.

                    Raw milk in cheese is another story. Pasteurization robs cheese of flavor. Cheeses aged 60 days have a biochemistry that prevents most pathogens from surviving, though some pathogens have shown up in FDA tests.

                    The San Francisco Chronicle story to which Ruth Lafler provided the link (above)
                    says that "New regulations could follow if the risk profiles [for certain tested cheeses], scheduled for completion by fall 2008, suggest that current rules don't protect public health."

                    Last, here's a list of some truly excellent raw milk cheese producers and links:
                    http://www.rawmilkcheese.org/index_files/Organization.htm

                    and here's a link to raw milk cheesemakers by region:
                    http://www.rawmilkcheese.org/index_fi...

                    1. re: maria lorraine
                      vvvindaloo Oct 30, 2007 07:06 AM

                      Thank you very much for your explanations and analysis. And I love new links re: where to find good food :) Let's hope that whatever decision is made comes from reason and scientific study- not politics and $$$. This is our cheese we're talking about!

                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                      tarepanda Nov 2, 2007 11:38 AM

                      Okay. I have tried Sweet Grass - I know they have raw milk cheeses, like the Thomasville TOmme and the Georgia Gouda, but I wasn't too impressed. My local WHole FOods also has Morbier and Raclette, but they are not my type either.

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