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FDA: We are not banning wooden shelves for cheese - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

FDA: We are not banning wooden shelves for cheese

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VERMONT -

An update to the cheese controversy surrounding the FDA.

It appears the agency may have reversed its stance on banning the use of wooden shelving to age cheese.

A communication from the agency earlier this year is causing an outcry among cheesemakers. It apparently suggested that they may stop the use of wooden boards because of concerns over bacteria.

Now the FDA is responding on its website, saying: "Recently, you may have heard some concerns suggesting the FDA has taken steps to end the long-standing practice in the cheesemaking industry of using wooden boards to age cheese. To be clear, we have not and are not prohibiting or banning the long-standing practice of using wood shelving in artisanal cheese. Nor does the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act require any such action. Reports to the contrary are not accurate."

As you can imagine, this has been a heated issue for Vermont cheesemakers and Congressman Peter Welch. He told Channel 3 News that banning wooden shelving would affect the quality of the cheese and cheesemakers' bottom lines.

"It would set off a trade war. You know, European cheeses that are imported to our country are aged on wood. That would be prohibited. And obviously they'd retaliate against us," he says. "So really dumb idea."

Congressman Welch said in a statement that he is frustrated by the confusion within the FDA and said he will move forward with an amendment to stop any potential action against cheesemakers.

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