14 November 2016

Help save the Errington Cheese and defend artisan cheesemaking

I'M PERHAPS SLIGHTLY late to the party with this one but having worked in the cheese industry for a few years, I was most annoyed to hear of the threat to the business of pioneering Scottish cheesemaker, Humphrey Errington, from Food Standards Scotland that has seen cheese production halted and staff made redundant, despite no conclusive evidence that his cheese caused a recent outbreak of food poisoning.

                   Dunsyre Blue always features on my Scottish cheeseboard

I won't spend too much time explaining the case (there are links on Joanna's Crowdfunding page), but what I will say is that raw milk cheeses are perfectly safe and I doubt its use would ever come into question on the continent.  I once ate two kilos of a so-called 'infected' batch of Criffel, a beautiful raw milk cheese produced by at the Loch Arthur Creamery,  that was deemed to contain unsafe levels of listeria just to see if I got sick - I didn't. My point is that I believe the FSS are ignorant when it comes to raw milk cheese and while I understand it is their job to ensure our food is safe to eat, it is  also their duty to have evidence that is 100% accurate before their actions are allowed to impact on a business.  Artisan cheese production is something we do very well in Scotland and it should be a celebrated part of our gastronomic history.

This isn't the first time Errington's family business has faced the threat of extinction from the authorities, so let's hope the little guy can win out and justice prevails. Please donate to Joanna's worthy cause and pray that the little guy can win out once again.


https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/joanna-blythman

Thanks,

Philly

3 comments:

  1. Good work Philly and very well written. You forgot to mention that the FSS are complete zealots about raw milk cheeses. They operate their own rules of "science" and testing. Humphrey was correct. It was totally Kafkaesque. The fact that they have only just published the results and are offering inadvertently to drop the case, pay legal fees or something... says it all.

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  2. I love their cheese, and they seem like decent people... I hate whats happening to them (again!) - well done for writing abut it. I hope we'll be able to eat their lovely produce again, and even more I hope we can get our hands on more artisan products and, erm, even raw milk too!

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    1. The thing is this sort of incident can and will happen again. There needs to be a far better, more transparent way of dealing with these cases. The cheesemakers and the FSS should really get together and have it out in order to share knowledge and devise a better food "safety" system. From my point if view, people have eaten raw milk/ cheese for hundreds of years. If it was so harmful somebody at some point in history would have piped up that it's a bad idea!

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