No matter which way you slice it, the federal government is turning Wisconsin cheesemakers’ moods extra stinky.
A soft raw milk cheese, Rush Creek Reserve, made by Uplands Cheese Company near Dodgeville, Wis. is the latest cheese to be ruined by regulation.
Newly imposed regulations may require aging periods for raw milk cheese to exceed the standard 60 days, which is already twice as long as European cheesemakers do. By the time Rush Creek Reserve completed the potential two month-plus aging period, the cheese would become overripe.
So, Uplands Cheese Co. has decided to no longer produce the much sought-after cheese.
According to the Chicago Reader, “It’s not because of anything that has happened at Uplands—[cheesemaker Andy] Hatch describes his most recent FDA inspection earlier in the summer as “really positive”—or, indeed, because of any particular incident anywhere that he knows of. But a cheese specifically designed for aging for 60 days—the rule since 1949—risks suddenly being afoul of newly imposed regulations which may mandate longer aging periods or other impossibly strict conditions for cheese making.”
Just like the FDA’s rule change on curing cheese on wood planks earlier this year, the potential for regulation change doesn’t make producing a cheese that could be illegal once it’s ready to be sold economically feasible. .
Wisconsin cheese blogger Jeanne Carpenter explains it this way: “The death of Rush Creek Reserve should act as the canary in the coal mine for all American raw milk artisan cheeses, because just as our great American artisan cheese movement is in serious full swing, the FDA has basically declared a war on raw milk cheese.”
Thankfully these changes don’t affect Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Upland Cheese’s most decorated and celebrated artisan cheese. But who knows what new rules the feds will come up with next.
More and more companies like Burger King are fleeing the U.S. and finding new homes in Canada where corporate tax rates are more favorable.
As the U.S. becomes increasingly business unfriendly with high taxes and regulations will cheese makers find a new home in another country? I certainly hope not.