Before embarking on a discussion of the 60-day curing criteria for cheeses made from raw milk, it is important to understand the definition of cheese styles and differences in regulation.  Cheese was originally developed by human societies as a method to preserve milk.  In the US, cheeses are usually made from cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s, or buffalo’s milk.  Among 72 different cheese and cheese product types defined in 21 C.F.R. Part 133, the FDA allows only a limited number of cheese types to be made with raw milk so long as the cheese is cured at a temperature of not less than 35°F for not less than 60 days. The Raw Milk Cheesemakers’ Association adds an additional criteria for low-temperature (thermised) heat treatment of raw milk cheese:  “Cheese produced from milk that, prior to setting the curd, has not been heated above the temperature of the milk (104°F, 40°C) at the time of milking and that the cheese produced from that milk shall be aged for 60 days or longer at a temperature of not less than 35°F (2°C) in accordance with US FDA regulations.”  Table 1 summarizes cheeses and cheese types subject to the 60-day aging rule.

Table 1.  Cheese and Cheese Products in the US (adapted from The American Cheese Society).

Cheese Type

60-day aging rule allowed


Fresh cheeses


Italian style mascarpone and ricotta, chevre, feta, cream cheese, quark and cottage cheese, queso freso and other Mexican-style fresh cheeses

Soft-ripened cheeses


brie and camembert styles, triple crèmes

Semi-soft cheeses


blue cheeses, colby, fontina styles, havarti and Monterey Jack, washed rind cheeses


Firm/hard cheeses


gouda styles, most cheddars, dry jack, Swiss (Emmenthaler) styles, Gruyere styles, many “tomme” styles and Parmesan styles

Blue cheeses


French (roquefort), Italian (gorgonzola) and Danish blue styles 


Pasta Filata cheeses


Italian style Mozzarella, Provolone, and Scamorza

Natural or washed rind cheeses


French Tomme de Savoie and Mimolette, as well as the English Stilton (also a blue), and Lancashire cheeses (natural); Epoisses, Livarot and Taleggio (washed) 


Processed cheeses

Not applicable

American Cheese, processed cheese spreads, and “cheese flavored” spreads.




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