Quebec says yes to raw milk cheese – and it’s recalled for listeria

On the same day that Quebec moved to permit raw milk cheese aged less than 60 days, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Portuguese Cheese Co. warned the public not to consume Santa Maria brand Queijo de Cabra (fresh goat cheese) because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Does fresh mean raw? How’s a pregnant woman – or a guy who really doesn’t like to barf — to know?

No matter, the Montreal Gazette came out Saturday and exclaimed in an editorial that “the trick is to manage the risks carefully, and make sure potential consumers understand the situation. Quebec seems to have taken health concerns into account. Under the new rules, Quebec will require each cheesemaker to know his or her milk supplier personally, and to be knowledgeable about the dairy operation in question.”

Yes I know you. Therefore it is safe.

Mansel Griffiths, a dairy microbiologist at the University of Guelph and my PhD supervisor (right, not exactly as shown) says the 60-day limit has become arbitrary, since it is no longer a guarantee of destroying pathogens. Still, he believes raw-milk cheese continues to pose health-safety issues over potential pathogens.