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Door opens for Roquefort cheese

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Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Christopher Pyne has announced a Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) amendment to the Food Standards Code that permits the sale of Roquefort cheese.

“The approval covers only the sale of Roquefort raw milk cheese made under specific conditions in France,” he said.

“Other blue mould cheeses, whether imported or domestically produced, are not covered.

“Before a raw milk cheese is approved, FSANZ must be satisfied that the cheese has a level of safety equivalent to cheeses made from heat-treated or pasteurised milk.

“This involves a scientific evaluation of the cheese manufacturing processes, followed by an examination of the regulatory environment and safety control measures under which sheep milk is produced and Roquefort cheese is made.

“Scientists from FSANZ and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) conducted on-site audits of cheese-making facilities in France as part of the approval process.

“FSANZ is part way through the development of a National Dairy Primary Production and Processing Standard.

“This will include permissions to domestically manufacture ‘Roquefort-like’ cheeses, where safety can be assured.”

Roquefort cheese will be subject to monitoring by AQIS on entry to Australia.

Under Australia’s food labelling laws, a statement will be required on Roquefort cheese to indicate that it has been manufactured from milk that is unpasteurised and sourced from sheep.

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