Raw-milk cheese debate, talk to me in 60

Sixty days. That's how long the FDA makes us wait for raw-milk cheese. Dating back to the 1940s, the 60-day stamp of approval came into play when it was first believed that a long drying process, along with enzymes and salts, would naturally preventing listeria, salmonella, and E. coli from growing and ruining your grilled cheese sandwich experience. However, recent studies have shown listeria and E. coli can survive in cheese beyond 60 days. Gasp.

It's the same debate as raw milk: many farmers, cheesemakers and consumers believe that pasteurizing the milk kills beneficial bacteria and alters the flavor. Federal lawmakers, however, want to keep the list of "death by cheese" as low as possible and require all cheeses made in the U.S. be from pasteurized milk, or aged 60 days if made with raw-milk.

I don't think the 60-day rule is such a bad thing. For cheeses like Cheddar, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gruyere the aging process is at least 60 days in rooms that are 50 degrees F. with 85 percent humidity anyhow, so the American versions aren't really missing out on anything. It's the soft cheeses like ricotta, Brie and chèvre that get the short end of the curd slicer in the 60-day deal.

So how can we have our raw milk cheese and eat it, too? Expert cheesemakers are voting for food safety vigilance in creameries across the United States, with rigorous HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) plans in place that require frequent inspections and on-site bacteria testing.

And I think that could work well in small operations that produce local, organic artisan cheeses. Which is how it should be: small, local creameries producing specialty cheeses that are so unique, you can pinpoint the grass and clover essence in the cheese, according to region or season.

But when the big companies want in on the artisan trend and decide that marketing is more worthwhile than local and organic, we start to have a problem. When supply and demand meets greed, the food safety system suffers.

I confessed earlier I couldn't bring myself to drink raw milk. However, I feel differently about raw milk cheese as long as it's mature. I'm a fan of the 1940s 60-day rule and don't mind waiting for a good raw milk Cheddar. But unless I'm on a hillside in Italy with lactating sheep grazing next to me, I'm not eating the raw milk ricotta made here in the U.S.

What do you think? Do you agree with the possibly outdated 60-day law or are you a supporter of the raw milk option for all cheeses? And what raw milk cheeses have you enjoyed (and lived to tell us about)?

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
            Show more [+]
            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Fort Pierce
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid