Continuing ACS efforts to develop Preventive Controls (PC) for artisan cheesemaking that reflect stakeholder realities, ACS will be convening a Preventive Controls Working Group in Des Moines this summer. This is the next step in our ongoing efforts to work with FDA within their existing structures and protocols while advancing understanding that artisan cheese, and in particular raw milk cheese, can be – and is regularly – made safely.

FDA is currently reviewing, and will provide technical feedback on, the ACS Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers – they view this as a starting point for developing a Preventive Control guidance.  As such, this PC Working group will be tasked with reviewing available resources and technical documents, and developing some agreed upon PCs. This will include incorporating/review of:

  • FDA technical comments on ACS Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers
  • Framework/Proposal for PCs in development by
  • Data for which ACS submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to FDA
  • Data from the ACS Industry Census which is currently out for cheesemakers to complete
  • Pertinent current guidelines in US and abroad

FDA hopes that an outcome of this meeting will be to build broad consensus among our diverse stakeholders, and ultimately develop a guidance based upon that. The outcomes of the PC Working Group session will be shared with FDA, and then a formal meeting with ACS and FDA representatives will follow in the fall to reach consensus and – ideally – develop something that FDA might eventually “recognize” as the industry guidance.

This process is not new to FDA, and is similar to how “recognized” guidance documents were developed for the produce industry.  This is by no means a small task that will involve a small group. For the produce industry, this process ultimately involved years of work and a vast consortium of experts who developed the Preventive Control Measures for Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/SafePracticesforFoodProcesses/ucm090977.htm

ACS members will be kept abreast of the outcomes of this Des Moines meeting, and subsequent outreach to FDA.

Participants:

  • John Allan (IDFA)
  • Kim Bukowski (Cornell)
  • Dennis D’Amico (UConn)
  • Cathy Gaffney (Wegman’s)
  • Lisbeth Goddik (OSU)
  • Andy Hatch (WI)
  • Ralph Ichter (CNIEL/French Cheese Board)
  • Kuba Hemmerling (CA)
  • Jeff Jirik (MN)
  • Mateo Kehler (VT)
  • Marie Limoges (UVM)
  • Dick Roe (ACS)
  • Kendall Russell (ID)
  • Marianne Smukowski (WI-CDR)
  • Nora Weiser (ACS)
  • Bob Wills (WI)