PA News, 10 May 1999
Gastronomes in Britain were today backing specialist varieties of cheese such as Cheddar, Cheshire and Lancashire which look set to be banned under EU rules. The cheeses, made by many of Britain’s small farms, use unpasteurised milk, a process the EU intends to ban following food poisoning scares.
This Euromyth, which first appeared in the press in 1992 when the Council adopted a directive on public health rules for the production and sale of raw-milk products including some cheeses, has appeared again. Then, as now the UK was at the forefront of demands for the directive.
The UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) recently have produced consultations on diary product hygiene and on raw milk production regulations. The directive states that milk should come from animals and holdings which satisfy the health and safety requirements and are inspected regularly. The cheese produced should comply with specific microbiological criteria. Checks must be made for listeria and salmonella etc. which children, pregnant women, the elderly and ill people are particularly susceptible to.
The European Commission and MAFF recognise that the cheese industry is important and there is absolutely no intention to ban any traditional cheese. Neither MAFF nor the European Commission plan to ban the use of unpasteurised milk. The explicit intention is to safeguard consumer health and confidence.