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Cheese Making Surrender Monkeys

French cheesemakers are about to overturn centuries of tradition by ending the use of unpasteurised milk to produce camembert.

Farmers say that consumers are shunning cheese that is made according to age-old processes after a series of food scares, while overzealous health authorities have buried their industry under a mountain of red tape.

However, purists complain that cheese cannot be described as genuine camembert without the uniquely pungent goût that comes from the microbial flora in raw milk — flora now under threat from pasteurisation, thermalisation or microfiltering.

So the hard pressed farmers are attempting to be allowed to bastardise their own produce...

“In the past I suppose we often made cheeses with bacteria in them,” said Calude Granjon, 55, deputy director of the cooperative. “No one knew and no one minded. I don’t think people fell ill from eating them because we were in contact with bacteria and built up our immunity to them. Today, everything is different and we have to accept that.”

French fraud squad detectives carried out a recent raid on the Isigny-Sainte-Mãre cooperative to discover whether microfiltering was already under way. “They found nothing illegal because we are not using this method yet,” Mr Granjon said. “But we are going to use it come what may, because we have no choice, although we are not doing it with a light heart.”

Isn't it wonderful that in France the Fraud Squad will raid a fromagerie to ensure that they follow the rules but the Palais de l' Elysées seems curiously immune...


An interesting point: we used to buy butter made by Isigny-Sainte-Mãre, but stopped because it became rancid after about a day's exposure to the air.

Wonder if it was the same bacteria...?

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