The Associated Press is running a story about a French Camembert producer that wants to switch from using raw milk to using micro-filtered milk. Isigny-Sainte-Mere, one of France’s largest producers of AOC Camembert, is asking the National Institute for Origin and Quality to change the rules that govern the cheese.
Isigny-Sainte-Mere is likely reacting to a 2005 E. coli incident involving Reaux’s raw-milk Camembert. They want to use micro-filtered milk in their cheese, but still maintain their AOC status, so they are petitioning for a change in the rules. Micro-filtration is similar to pasteurization in that it removes much of the bacteria present in raw milk. While this can help to create a safer product, it also destroys much of the character and flavor of the cheese.
It seems that while traditional foodways are making a return in the United States, the same ones are beginning to disappear in Europe, the very place of their origin. Perhaps in a few decades time, the French and Italians will be coming to America to learn how to make real cheese again!