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Gourmet News October 2015

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BY LORRIE BAUMANN The U.S. Food and Drug Admin- istration is asking for comments and data about the safety of cheese made from unpasteurized milk with a view to regulating more carefully how cheesemak- ers produce raw milk cheeses. "We are taking this action in light of scientific data on potential health risks associated with con- sumption of cheese made from unpasteurized milk," according to an FDA notice published on August 3. The public has until Novem- ber 2 to submit either electronic or hard-copy comments and sci- entific data and information to the FDA. Electronic comments should be submitted to BY LORRIE BAUMANN In 1865, Samuel L. Clemens was living in San Francisco, writing articles for newspapers and won- dering if he had any shot at a ca- reer as a humorist. He was also apparently drinking quite a lot, which means that there actually is some chance that he tasted the Breakfast Cheese made by Jeffer- son Thompson, who founded his west Marin County dairy farm that year. He sold the cheese he made in the creamery that would eventually become known as Marin French Cheese to San Francisco saloons who sold it to their customers. Marin French Cheese: Grounded in Tradition and Moving Forward Continued on PAGE 12 Continued on PAGE 10 Continued on PAGE 8 No, Marin French Cheese's of- ficial history doesn't document any consumption by the writer who's best known today as Mark Twain, but there's no way to prove it didn't happen, after all. What we do know is that Thompson launched his Thompson Brothers Creamery in 1865 on a 700-acre dairy ranch that's now known as Hicks Valley Ranch near Petaluma, California. He sent his Thompson cheese by horse and wagon and then by boat to San Francisco's saloons, where dock workers began calling it "Break- fast Cheese." Thompson's two sons, Jeff Thompson, Junior and Rudolph Thompson, took over the cream- ery in the early 20th century, and Jeff, Jr. trav- eled to Con- necticut to learn to make Euro- pean styles such as Camembert, Brie and Neufchatel. He branded his French-style cheese Rouge et Noir, French for "Red and Black." In the 1990s, Marin French Cheese was acquired by cattle rancher and real estate developer Jim Boyce, who modernized the cheese plant and expanded distri- bution of the Marin French cheeses. In 2005, Marin French Cheese achieved dis- tinction as the first U.S. com- pany to be awarded Gold in a Eu- ropean competition for Triple Crème Brie, besting the French in that category. The 2014 World Unpasteurized Cheeses Pose Greater Risk FDA Gathers Data on Safety of Raw Milk Cheeses www.regulations.gov with refer- ence to Docket Number FDA- 2015-N-2596. The FDA is relying on a 2012 review of outbreaks of foodborne illness that occurred in the U.S. between 1993 and 2006 that pointed a finger directly at cheese, and to cheeses made from unpas- teurized milk in particular. Ac- cording to that study by scientists from the Centers for Disease Con- trol and Prevention, the review in- cluded 121 outbreaks of foodborne illness involving dairy products between 1993 and 2006, and among these, 73 (60 percent) involved nonpasteurized milk and resulted in 1,571 cases of ill- ness and two deaths. Out of the 65 outbreaks involving cheese, 27 involved cheese made from raw milk, a figure that's particularly significant since less than 1 per- cent of the dairy products con- sumed in the U.S. during the time period were made from unpas- teurized milk, according to the FDA. The 38 outbreaks involving cheese made from pasteurized milk resulted in 744 illnesses and 1 death, while the 27 involving cheese made from raw milk re- sulted in 641 illnesses and two deaths. According to the 2012 study, all of the illnesses involving nonpas- teurized dairy products were caused by bacteria, although a number of species of bacteria were BY LORRIE BAUMANN Cheese is complicated, which is one of the things that Liam Calla- han, the cheesemaker at Bell- wether Farms, likes about it. "These are my cheeses. I feel like I have license to change them. If it interests me, I can do that," he says. "I don't want to do anything that's less good; everything is in an effort to improve them. I still find that challenging." He won a sofi Award last year for his Whole Milk Ricotta and Continued on PAGE 8 Fears About Raw Milk Risks Complicate Cheesemaking at Bellwether Farms another sofi Award this year for his Blackberry Sheep Milk Yogurt. His Fromage Blanc took a second place award at this year's Ameri- can Cheese Society Awards. That's another thing he likes about his business: "After all these years of Fancy Food Shows and several times being finalists.... It feels good that people still respond to it, that they like the packaging," he says. "I still get satisfaction from that kind of recognition. I take it with a grain of salt, but it's great to get some recognition." Callahan grew up in San Fran- cisco and didn't become a farm boy until after he was in college, when his mother, Cindy Calla- han, won a long-running argu- ment with his father, a physician, about getting out of the city. "Once we were out of school, she managed to win the tug of war," he says. They found Bellwether Farms, a 34-acre property within BY LORRIE BAUMANN If you're an average American, your risk of getting a serious case of listeriosis from eating one serving of a soft-ripened cheese like a brie or Camembert is about one in 8.6 billion if the cheese was made from pasteur- ized milk and about one in 5.5 million if the cheese was made from raw milk. To put those numbers into perspective, Na- tional Geographic estimates your chances of being struck by lightning as about 1 in 3,000 over your lifetime. Your chances of dying in an airline crash are around one in 11 million, ac- cording to a 2006 estimate pub- lished in the International Business Times. The risks of eating brie are outlined in a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Adminis- tration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition that was released on August 4. The study was conducted jointly with Health Canada, which used its own data to come up with con- siderably lower risks for Cana- dians. Their risk of developing a serious case of listeriosis from a serving of pasteurized cheese was one in 7.3 billion and one VOLUME 80, NUMBER 10 OCTOBER 2015 n $7.00 RETAILER NEWS n Selling Cheese in Music City, USA PAGE 14 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Coffee Brewers to Appeal to Specialty Coffee Loving Millennials PAGE 16 NATURALLY HEALTHY n Nomoo Cookies Don't Got Milk PAGE 18 COOKING SAUCES n PAGE 19 SEASONINGS & SPICES n PAGE 25 BUYERS GUIDE n Sweets PAGE 30 SMALL ELECTRICS n Mills & Grinders PAGE 38 News & Notes.................................6 Ad Index .......................................39 Smorgasbord ................................39 www.gourmetnews.com BUYERS GUIDE: Sweets SEE PAGE 30 UPDATE: Seasonings & Spices SEE PAGE 25 UPDATE: Cooking Sauces SEE PAGE 19 G OURMET N EWS T H E B U S I N E S S N E W S P A P E R F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y ®

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