CHEESE 2001 – EAT, the European Alliance for Artisan and Traditional Raw Milk Products

21 Sep 2001

The European Alliance for Artisan and Traditional Raw Milk Products (EAT) was established two years ago in the face of new regulatory threats from Brussels, in particular the review of the dairy product hygiene regulations and the EU Agricultural Directorate policy of zero tolerance of listeria.

The Alliance has succeeded in bringing together like-minded raw milk product producers from many European countries, and establishing a pan-European voice for the thousands of artisan businesses threatened by entirely inappropriate supermarket-oriented regulations.

This is a threat equally recognised by Slow Food, and last year EAT was happy to respond to a request from Slow to write a ‘Manifesto in Defence of Raw Milk Cheese’ and to join in the world campaign to heighten awareness of the all-important qualities of these cheeses.

EAT is lobbying the European Commission to recognise that it is both impractical and counterproductive to expect small cheese, butter and cream makers to conform to the same infrastructural and hygiene demands as giant dairy processing units. We are also actively seeking support to enable a leading laboratory to carry out a simple test comparing the ability of raw milk and pasteurised milk to resist the growth of pathogenic bacteria. We believe that a scientific understanding of the capacity of good quality raw milk products to resist the spread of harmful bacteria is now needed in order to reverse the trend towards blanket heat treatment and even irradiation of foods whose natural protective qualities make such measures redundant.

EAT will be collaborating with Slow’s Brussels office to organise a special Raw Milk Cheese Tasting event later this year. Parliamentarians and Commission officials will be invited to taste these cheeses and then to explain why they are not actively supporting and promoting their survival. We believe that one of the best ways of reaching a human’s brain is via his/her stomach!

We shall continue to fight for the future of this great tradition and culture of the land, because we find it unimaginable that future generations might not continue to benefit from the delights of our great culinary traditions.

Sir Julian Rose from the UK, organic farmer, owner and manager of Hardwick Estate, Council member of the Soil Association, co-founder of the Association of Unpasteurised Milk Producers and Consumers. His advice has been sought by the British government and by local authorities. Recently he has become involved in promoting holistic solutions to the countryside crisis For more information, see Slow Magazine, September 2001 ‘In Praise of Raw Milk’. EAT can be contacted at: Hardwick Estate Office, Whitchurch-on-Thames, Reading, RG8 7RB. Email: [email protected].

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