Raw milk artisans disappearing in Quebec cheese dilemma
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Raw-milk-artisans-disappearing-in-Quebec-cheese-dilemma
By Neil Merrett, 29-Jan-2009
pushing to meet growing potential interest in North America for unpasteurised
cheeses, producers from Quebec
are increasingly questioning using raw milk in their goods amidst wider
safety fears, says one industry expert.
concerns have already been conveyed by leading France-based multinational Lactalis, despite fervent criticism from other processors
in the country that claim raw milk-derived cheeses are safe, high quality
In the final part of a
series on the challenges facing international production of raw milk cheeses
such as camembert, DairyReporter.com looks at the difficulty facing
processors in the province
of Quebec regarding
Pierre Nadeau, chief
executive officer for industry group the Quebec Dairy Council, says that a
number of cheese batches cross-contaminated with listeriosis last year may have significantly dented
demand for unpasteurised cheese.
Nadeau said that of
the 40 cheese makers once operating in the region producing goods like
camembert and brie
derived from raw milk, the number had nearly halved as the industry seeks new
processes to make their brands.
He claimed that the
industry was already facing a slight set back after the discovery last year
of two batches of cheese containing the bacterial infection listeriosis, before further cross contamination
compounded the issue.
“As a result, some
people felt that, to prevent major loses to their operations, they could
either turn to full- or partly-pasteurised (thermised)
The dairy chief
suggested that a growing number of manufacturers had questioned the viability
of sticking with unpasteurised cheese, since the outbreak of the listeriosis scare.
“We are left with less
than half [of the sector] continuing with raw milk,” he stated.
Nideau says that unlike its
counterparts in the culturally and linguistically linked country of France, the
unpasteurised cheese sector remains a smaller artisan area for manufacturers.
However, while little
data currently exists on the amount of exports, he added that, on an
anecdotal basis, there was thought to be growing interest in unpasteurised
cheese products in wider markets, such as some North Eastern US states.
In this market,
authorities in Quebec
reportedly announced a CAN$8.4m (€5.2m) investment scheme in a bid to help
revive the province’s cheese industry back in October.
The funding was
unveiled in order to support measures such as interest-free loans for
artisanal cheese makers in financial difficulty following the listeriosis crisis, as well as promotional activities,
reported local media at the time.
Access on the funds
was said to be dependant on implementing stricter controls on quality, safety
and staff training, according to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC).
The first article in
this series can be found here.