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Welch: Don't mess with Vermont cheese - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Welch: Don't mess with Vermont cheese

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Rep. Peter Welch Rep. Peter Welch
BURLINGTON, Vt. - Don't mess with Vermont cheese! That's the message from Rep. Peter Welch. The congressman says rules announced by the FDA that call for the end of a centuries-old, cheesemaking process are "nutty."

Cheese has been aged on wood for hundreds of years. But now the FDA is concerned that microbial pathogens could grow on the wood and pose a health risk to consumers.

Cheesemakers, the Vermont Cheese Council and Welch say that threatens Vermont businesses and tradition.

"The Food and Drug Administration is an important agency but they can do some pretty stupid things," said Welch, D-Vermont. "So this is just a dumb rule that would mean if you couldn't use wood, it would A, be enormously expensive to change it. Jasper Hill it could be $20 million. And 2, the cheese wouldn't taste so good."

Welch says it would also set off a trade war with Europe, which couldn't import cheese aged on wood.

Welch wants to block the rule. He's co-sponsoring an amendment to stop the government from enforcing the ban.

Welch talks with Channel 3's Darren Perron and Kyle Midura on "You Can Quote Me" June 15 at 11 a.m.

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