Blessed are the cheese-makers: Storm parliament in NZ

A small-scale cheese maker is hauling her raw milk cheese to Parliament.

florida-swampKatikati’s Mount Eliza Cheese owner Jill Whalley says New Zealand artisan producers of raw milk cheese find high compliance costs crippling – about $60 a kilo.

That makes European products cheaper to import and it’s not fair, she says.

The Food and Safety Reform Bill is currently under consideration by a select committee.

“We want a level playing field,” says Whalley.

She believes it’s prohibitive to a thriving artisan cheese industry.

“If they took the same approach to road safety as they do to food safety, we would all have to drive at three miles per hour, with a person in front waving a red flag.”

Whalley argues pastuerisation destroys the milk’s good bacteria which protects the cheese from harmful bacteria.

Small cheese makers have greater control over hygiene and other variables and can prevent it from happening, Whalley says.

I also have some land in Florida you may want buy.

Naked man charged with stealing Hungry Jack’s Whopper from car in Australia

Hungry Jack’s is to Australia what Burger king is to America. Owned by the same company, but some dude wouldn’t give up the name in Australia.

monty-brian-3_2738920kA naked man was arrested and charged after he allegedly stole a Whopper from a man’s car in Derby, 2400km north of Perth.

Derby police say the local man stole the Hungry Jack’s burger from a tradesman’s car parked in the remote town. The tradesman had organised for a friend to bring him several Whoppers from Darwin (no less than 1800km north-east) in the days prior to the alleged theft.

Police say one of the burgers was left in the car and the local forced his way inside and took it. When he was confronted by the tradesman, the offender removed all his clothes and walked away, police said.

Officers apprehended him in the street a short time later and charged him by summons with stealing and disorderly behavior.

Blessed are the cheesemakers who don’t include listeria

A Washington state cheese processor and distributor has agreed to keep its products off the market until they are proven safe for consumption as part of a consent decree of permanent injunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Del Bueno, of Grandview, Wash., which processes a variety of cheeses and distributes them to specialty grocery stores and restaurants, and owner Jesus Rodriguez, agreed to terms of the consent decree entered by U.S. District Judge Lonny R. Suko of the Eastern District of Washington, on April 3.

Under the consent decree, Del Bueno cannot process or distribute food until it demonstrates that it has developed a control program to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes from its production facility and products.

Del Bueno must, among other actions, hire an independent laboratory to collect and analyze samples for the presence of Listeria, retain an independent sanitation expert, develop a program to control Listeria for all employees in both English and Spanish, and destroy all food items currently in the facility. Once the company is permitted to resume operations, the FDA may still require the company to recall products or cease production if future violations occur.

“When a company continues to produce food that presents a risk for consumers, the FDA will take action,” said Dara A. Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “We will not hesitate to protect the public’s health.”

FDA and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) inspections since 2009 have documented numerous deficiencies in Del Bueno’s processing facility. In addition, FDA laboratory testing since 2010 also found Listeria monocytogenes in Del Bueno’s finished cheese products and in the Del Bueno facility. Both the FDA and the WSDA repeatedly advised Del Bueno and its owner of the unsanitary conditions at the facility.

In 2010, Del Bueno cheese was linked to a case of listeriosis in Washington state. Although no illnesses have been reported in 2012 from Del Bueno products, individuals who have eaten these products and experience any of the symptoms of listeriosis listed above should contact their health care professional.

Blessed are the cheesemakers: feds arrest cheese that sickened 38

An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 first became public in Nov. 2010, and would eventually sicken at least 38 people in several U.S. states. Investigators believe the source was Dutch Style Gouda Cheese produced by Bravo Farms of Traver, California from raw milk and sold primarily at Costco and Whole Foods Market stores.

The artisan cheese maker temporarily shut down.

Bravo was forced to quarantined stockpiles of cheese, and — no real surprise – of the 24 unpasteurized cheese samples investigators took, 15 tested positive for listeria and one tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.

According to the L.A. Times today, state and federal investigators found at least 50 live flies flitting around a processing area at Bravo. They also reported that a rabbit hopped out of a storage room, and a dairy worker scratched his chin then handled milled cheese with his bare hands.

On Thursday, U.S. marshals and Food and Drug Administration agents arrived at the cheesemaker and seized the Gouda, along with piles of Edam and blocks of white cheddar. All told, investigators have locked up more than 80,000 pounds of cheese. Prosecutors say it is all headed for the garbage disposal.

Worried that the cheese would somehow reach the public, and acting to shift the case from state to federal jurisdiction, the Justice Department used a civil legal mechanism to arrest a product — food — and essentially impound it.

Prosecutors filed a civil complaint in federal court in Sacramento last week that lists the cheese — not the farmers who made it — as defendants.

John Sheehan, director of the FDA’s dairy division, said the inspections came from concerns "about raw-milk cheese made under artisanal conditions" and a flurry of nine artisan cheese recalls last year. As of October, the FDA had inspected 102 facilities, some big, some small. Of the 147 samples taken, 32 tested positive for listeria. The inspections continue.

Bravo, which is cooperating with federal officials, has been cleared to make cheese again. It’s using pasteurized milk.