Update on new raw milk cheese regulations

23 June 2015

Raw milk cheese update

In January, we provided a summary for members of the long-awaited changes to Australia’s rules and guidelines for the production and sale of raw milk cheese. These changes were officially gazetted in February and are now part of the Food Standards Code.

Since then, FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) and the State-based dairy regulators have been working together to develop a toolkit to implement the new standards, and assist cheesemakers who apply to make raw milk cheese.

Members of the ASCA Committee have been discussing these details with Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) and the NSW Food Auhority. There is still a long way to go before we will see – and taste – new cheeses made with raw milk, as both regulators and cheesemakers continue to work together to understand and implement the new requirements.

Last week, DFSV’s Chief Scientist, Deon Mahoney, presented an NCDEA webinar titled “Understanding the regulatory requirements for manufacturing raw milk cheese in Australia”. In the webinar, Deon advised that a summary of the amendments to Standard 4.2.4 is available of the DFSV website, which includes links to the FSANZ requirements  and a checklist for cheese manufacturers. While specific to dairy producers in Victoria, this checklist would also be of interest to cheesemakers in other states.

Also in the webinar, Deon reported that DFSV has been working with the Food Safety Centre in Tasmania to develop a comprehensive decision support tool, which will help cheesemakers and regulators determine if a specific cheese meets the qualifying criteria. It will be completed by the end of this year, and made available on the internet for use by regulators and cheesemakers.

ASCA will provide details of official documentation from other State regulators as it becomes available.

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