New Rules Could Bring More Cheese to the Table

NEW ZEALAND - Locally-made unpasteurised milk cheeses may soon be available in New Zealand under new rules proposed by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).
calendar icon 26 May 2009
clock icon 1 minute read

NZFSA’s technical standards and systems assistant director Scott Crerar says under current food regulations, only a small range of unpasteurised milk products are imported and sold. The proposed rules released today for discussion would allow the production, sale, export and import of unpasteurised milk products that have an acceptable bacterial safety level.

“Many local manufacturers support the plan to address inconsistencies in the law that allow some raw milk cheeses made overseas to be imported whilst domestic manufacturers may not make their own equivalent products,” Scott says. “There is also support for the system from consumers who relish the thought of being able to enjoy a wider range of these products.”

Some unpasteurised milk products are higher risk foods than pasteurised products because they have not undergone heat treatment to kill harmful bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli, which can cause foodborne illness.

The proposed framework recognises some unpasteurised milk products can be produced so they pose a low food safety risk to the general population. However, vulnerable consumers – such as babies and toddlers under three, the frail elderly, expectant mothers and people with weakened immune systems – need to avoid eating them. The proposals include strategies to manage risks for vulnerable consumers by making them aware unpasteurised milk products can pose a higher risk than traditional pasteurised products.

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