Guide to food hygiene in artisan dairies has EC stamp of approval
Artisan cheese and dairy producers across Europe should find it easier to keep their local food safety authorities on side after the European Commission officially endorsed a new guide to good hygiene practices for the sector.
The 98-page guide has been produced by a team of six technical experts, including UK dairy consultant Paul Thomas, with input from dairy producers and other specialists from 15 countries.
It was developed by FACEnetwork, a group of farmhouse and artisan cheese and dairy producers, located as far apart as Norway and Spain, that includes the UK’s own Specialist Cheesemakers Association.
While European regulations make some concessions for smaller producers or those using traditional methods, some artisan businesses have struggled to get their local food authorities to show the same flexibility.
Paul Thomas told FFD there was “a big disconnect” between the EC and enforcement officers on the ground.
However, the European Guide to Good Hygiene Practices For Production of Artisanal Cheese & Dairy Products [http://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/safety/docs/biosafety_fh_guidance_artisanal-cheese-and-dairy-products.pdf] has now been endorsed by the EC and the all EU member states. This makes it an official reference document for the food safety authorities in all 28 countries.
Thomas said the guide reinforced everything in the SCA’s own code of practice for cheesemakers, but also covers dairy products including yoghurt, clotted cream and butter that are not covered in the SCA code.