This is not poetry – correctly labeling cheese

Sigh. I missed (again) Slow Cheese in Bra, one of the Slow Food mega get-togethers like Terra Madre and Salon de Gusto.  When I’m rich I’ve promised to get to them again (I was sponsored by Rare Breeds Trust in 2006 to attend Terra Madre. I just had to pay my air fare), but Slow Cheese sounded like it was a special event this year. They had an active Facebook page going for the  event that attests to an active involvement of younger cheese makers and supporters.

Piero Sardo who is the president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity spoke at a public meeting about Slow Food’s vision for food labels. There he presented a label like this – as an example of the kind of labeling Slow Food wants its Presidia producers to start using, full of highly specific information relating to production methods, ingredients, dates, and more.

A label from US cheese maker Ira Grable’s Berkshire Blue cheese. Click for his website’s About Us page

He pointed out that the list of ingredients for a cheese can read simply “milk, rennet.” In Sardo’s example, the list reads…

“Milk from farm’s own Italian Alpine Brown cows and/or hybrids crossed with Alpine Brown, fed on hay and GMO-free protein supplements (corn, soy, field beans), without winter silage, pastured in the mountains for three months in the summer; liquid veal rennet purchased from xxxxx; Italian sea salt.”

“This is the indispensable minimum. This is not poetry. This is correctness of information,” he said. “Industrial production has something to hide so of course they are going to stay as generic as possible until the law forces them to disclose something.”

There was a lot of discussion about how practical this was or not for small producers, but the idea is an important part of how the Raw Milk campaign will be won where accurate labeling of the product will allow people to choose.

Which reminds me that this video is still relevant, Carlo’s reason why it’s important to fight for the right to make raw milk cheese. The audio was a sloppy grabbag on the day, forgive my enthusiasm over control..


And you might not have seen this old and lowres backstage look as I followed (now retired cheesemaker) Gabrielle Kevella around the amazing cheese isles at Salon de Gusto.

(I must make and upload a higher quality one. I must.)

“This is the indispensable minimum. This is not poetry. This is correctness of information” Piero Sardo -Slow Food.