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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation
  • Gabrielle Meunier

    You’d think there would be more pressing issues . . .

  • Bill Anderson

    From Scientific American:
    The Complex Origins of Food Safety Rules–Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food
    U.S. agencies recommend temperatures and times far beyond those supported by science
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=complex-origins-food-safety-rules
    I particularily liked this section (page 4-5):
    Cultural and political factors also explain why cheese made from raw milk is considered safe in France yet viewed with great skepticism in the United States. Traditional cheese-making techniques, used correctly and with proper quality controls, eliminate pathogens without the need for milk pasteurization. Millions of people safely consume raw milk cheese in France, and any call to ban such a fundamental part of French culture would meet with enormous resistance there.
    The United States, however, lacks a broadly recognized culture of making or eating raw milk cheeses. Not coincidentally, health officials have imposed inconsistent regulations on such cheeses. Raw milk cheese aged less than 60 days cannot be imported into the United States and cannot legally cross U.S. state lines. Yet in 24 of the 50 states, it is perfectly legal to make, sell, and consume raw milk cheeses within the state. In most of Canada raw milk cheese is banned, but in the province of Quebec it is legal.
    How can these discrepancies among and even within countries persist? It comes down to politics. In areas without a substantial local population demanding unpasteurized milk cheeses— a few gourmets, foodies, and chefs don’t count for much politically—no backlash has ensued. So the seemingly conservative rule holds, banning anything that seems remotely suspicious.
    Where artisanal cheese producers have more public support, the laws allow raw milk cheese. Raw milk cheese is a product of small-time artisans. As of this writing, no large, politically connected producers are making these cheeses in the U.S., so no movement has emerged to make laws on raw milk cheese more consistent and reasonable.
    Bureaucracy affects food safety rules in more subtle ways as well. Changing a regulation is always harder than keeping it intact, particularly if the change means sanctioning a new and strange food or liberalizing an old standard. No one will praise public health officials and organizations for moist pork chops, but plenty will heap blame should someone fall ill after regulators relax a safety standard.

  • “…plenty will heap blame should someone fall ill after regulators relax a safety standard.”
    I don’t see a problem with this, except that a human being has to fall ill because intelligent standards were trashed in the first place.
    Lot’s of misguided lobbyists’ propaganda hitting the legislative fan lately. I wonder what laxative has gotten into the WAPF Kool-Aid recently?
    http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/