Author Topic: raw milk safety in aged cheese  (Read 1323 times)

Offline Clean break

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raw milk safety in aged cheese
« on: February 22, 2013, 10:34:29 AM »
I am a little wary about using raw milk since I do not have control over the milk until it gets to me so I can not be 100% sure of it's treatment.  It looks like if you age a cheese past 60 days most of the bad bugs are killed. 

I was wondering how reliable that rule is or if there are other criteria involved.

My Extech 100 just arrived yesterday and I plan to document my ph's if that makes a safety difference as I think it would and I feel like I have a pretty reliable cheese aging system.
I have been low temp. past. all the farm milk so far (fresh cow and goat milk are widely available here) but would love to make raw milk cheeses, just gotta be smart about it. 


I am sure this topic has been discussed much but I could not find much info on my specific question.

Scott


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Offline Tiarella

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 11:12:41 AM »
Try searching the forum using Google rather than the forum search feature.  You'll have better luck I think because you can search phrases.  At least, it works much better for me.  There are some discussions on that topic.  Good luck.  I only use raw milk but it's from my own goats so I'm not wondering about it.   :D

Offline BobE102330

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 11:55:03 AM »
Does Oregon require a license to sell raw milk?  A license should be an indicator of at least a modicum of safety.  Search out others in your area who can point you to a reputable dairy (and might even be able to point you to whose milk makes the best cheese) .  Failing a personal recommendation, Rikki Carrol publishes a "good milk list"http://www.cheesemaking.com/goodmilklist.html#Oregon  It looks like you have lots of choices, hopefully at least one is close.

Offline WovenMeadows

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 12:10:10 PM »
I recently read the discussions on pasteurization and raw-milk cheeses in Kindstedt's American Farmstead Cheese. The semi-hard to hard aged cheeses (60-days or more) are pretty safe when made with raw milk, because of the low pH at pressing, and the subsequent low moisture content and good salt content. Seems like studies on Cheddar, for instance, found that pathogens were pretty much just as likely to be found in the cheese from post-pasteurization contamination as they were from pathogen-containing raw milk.

The more iffy aged cheeses are high pH, high moisture, and low salt cheeses. This would include blues and soft washed rinds (e.g. munster), as well as any bloomy rinds that you managed to age for 60 days and still be edible :). ("Aging," by the way, I think has to be above something like 37 degrees F). These types are more hospitable to growth of pathogens both in the original milk, or from contamination during the cheese-making or -aging process.

Also, some pathogens are not detectable by smell or taste, even when present in dangerous levels.

Offline rosawoodsii

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 02:44:00 PM »
I'm probably the last person who should comment on this thread since I raise goats and have drunk raw milk all my life.  IMO, the raw milk safety issue is just so much hype.  There are  pathogens that can be detected in almost all pasteurized milk, and very little attention is paid to illnesses caused from pasteurized milk. It's amazing the human race has survived, if you believe everything our food czars say about the danger of raw milk.  A handful of cases in a year will have the USDA wanting to shut down every source of raw milk in the country, while hundreds can sicken and/or die from contaminated spinach and they slap the upstream CAFO's on the hand.

Joy


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Offline steffb503

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 04:50:53 AM »
I agree with Joy 1000%.

Offline bbracken677

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 08:38:27 AM »
ditto...
unfortunately the Dairy Council and other Dairy lobbies have plenty of money to lobby against raw milk sales. It is a highly political situation with lots of propaganda and misinformation. 

Offline Clean break

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 08:44:05 AM »
Does Oregon require a license to sell raw milk?  A license should be an indicator of at least a modicum of safety.  Search out others in your area who can point you to a reputable dairy (and might even be able to point you to whose milk makes the best cheese) .  Failing a personal recommendation, Rikki Carrol publishes a "good milk list"http://www.cheesemaking.com/goodmilklist.html#Oregon  It looks like you have lots of choices, hopefully at least one is close.


In Oregon you can sell raw to the public direct from the farm.  There are limits on the size of the herd and no advertising your milk, I am not sure of the entire scope of the law but there are lots of places to get farm fresh raw milk in our area from unlicensed farms. 

The semi-hard to hard aged cheeses (60-days or more) are pretty safe when made with raw milk, because of the low pH at pressing, and the subsequent low moisture content and good salt content.

The more iffy aged cheeses are high pH, high moisture, and low salt cheeses.


This is what I thought and what I have heard.  I will do more google searching as per Tiarella's tip when I have a bit more time.

We are off to Pholia farms this morning for a cheese making course.  They are very well respected raw milk cheese producers and Gianaclis will be able to answer all my questions I am sure. 

The experience and knowledge on this forum astounds me, I hope to hear from others with direct knowledge in regards to the safety of an aged cheese that may have been made with compromised milk.  That is all I am asking for in this thread.  The other horse has been beaten to death.

Please do not assume my position based on my enquiries I am simply trying to be smart and safe.

 


Offline bbracken677

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 08:57:20 AM »
If I am not mistaken, per the FDA any cheese made from raw milk must age at least 60 days before sale. That suggests that the FDA has determined, in their infinite wisdom, that (given the proper sanitary treatment of the milk and cheese in process) it will be safe for consumption at that point.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 10:19:42 AM »
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessmentSafetyAssessment/UCM338618.pdf
and full version: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessmentSafetyAssessment/UCM338617.pdf

Quote
I was wondering how reliable that rule is or if there are other criteria involved.

There are many other criteria involved, as WovenMeadows has pointed out.

Attached one decent article and one summary article. There's also a few others done for listeria.

The gist of it is that it depends on many factors:
- type of pathogen
- strain
- CFUs present in the milk
- acidification profile
- Any post-contamination potential
- The type of cheese
- Your culture mix. ambient wild strains of LAB in the milk or rind consortia

There just isn't a one size fits all for safety. If you want something close to a one-size-fits-all, then make a hard, thermophilic cheese such as parmesan.

Have fun visiting Gianaclis :)

When you ask for direct experience, what do you need? Anecdotal support? Because that's mostly useless for any farm but the one providing the anecdote. Did attach the history and findings review. Not much research has been done.

edit: also attached FDA presentation on this topic
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 10:31:43 AM by linuxboy »
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.


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Offline rosawoodsii

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 12:48:26 PM »
The experience and knowledge on this forum astounds me, I hope to hear from others with direct knowledge in regards to the safety of an aged cheese that may have been made with compromised milk.  That is all I am asking for in this thread. 
What do you mean by "compromised milk"??  Raw milk is not compromised milk, it's just raw milk.  And if you mean milk that has undesirable bacteria in it, nobody uses that knowingly.

I've made a few cheeses that "blew up", that is, they did strange things during the make that showed me the milk was indeed compromised.  Spongy curd, etc.  I throw them out, don't even get to the aging  point.  I've had other cheeses that I wasn't quite sure of, but if they're aged or brined heavily (like feta or haloumi), I let them age to see what results.

And btw, I don't make many pasteurized cheeses, either fresh or aged, except perhaps ricotta.  I mean, what else do you do with all that leftover whey? :)
Joy

Offline bbracken677

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 03:21:17 PM »
If your opinion is that raw milk is compromised milk, then by all means just use pasteurized. If you truly mean milk that is compromised (bad), then it should be tossed.

I use raw milk occasionally...the drive is a longer one than I like and the price is a bit high. However, I can say that the dairy I deal with has been selling raw milk for a few years with no problems.

As LB pointed out...anecdotal experience is just that...and that is the sum total of my experience with raw milk.

There is a lot of hysteria about some things, while others are glossed over that have much larger ramifications. Such is life in the US these days.

Offline Clean break

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 07:15:58 PM »
I am a proponent of raw milk, I think it is fantastic. Raw milk is superior in so many ways but If it is contaminated (compromised) during collection by a careless milker and I use it in a cheese will it be safe after 60 days?

The answer seems to be probably it will be safe. 

I don't have the time right now to read all the info. LB referred to but I look forward to seeing what is there.   


Offline bbracken677

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 08:02:55 PM »
It really depends on the contamination....I buy my raw milk from a professional dairy that supplies products to a few of the grocery stores here in Dallas (not raw milk..against state law to sell it in a store..) so I am very confident that it is good stuff.

It sounds like you are buying your milk from Joe Blow who has a couple of cows but doesnt make a living from them? I might be concerned there as well if I didnt know him well or his practices.

Offline Clean break

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Re: raw milk safety in aged cheese
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 11:38:30 PM »
I have seen some sketchy operations but definitely forming relationships with some responsible Joe Blow's. :)