Raw milk cheesemaking on the horizon for regional producers


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By Melissa Keogh

Four regional cheesemakers have banded together to explore the possibility of allowing South Australian-made raw milk cheese to hit the luxury food market overseas.

The Barossa Valley Cheese Co in Angaston, Hindmarsh Valley Dairy near Victor Harbor, and Adelaide Hills cheesemakers Section28 and Woodside Cheese Wrights have formed a collective to explore the potential for raw milk cheese to enter lucrative national and international markets.

The group, named the South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective, recently received a $68,000 grant from the State Government’s Advanced Foods Manufacturing Program to create a consistent approval regime across the industry for the production of raw milk cheese.

It is illegal to sell raw (unpasteurised) milk for human consumption in Australia, however, raw milk cheeses must be approved by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and meet certain criteria in maturation time, temperature and water content.

The South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective will collaborate with DairySafe SA and the University of Tasmania to establish protocols and validation for category two raw milk cheesemaking.

It’s believed the advancements will help expose South Aussie cheesemakers to a new market and rival with international counterparts.

Production trials and tests will go ahead across the state and are expected to expose challenges associated with unpasteurised cheesemaking.

The four regional cheesemakers have more than 50 years of cheesemaking experience between them.

Barossa Valley Cheese Company managing director Victoria McClurg says the grant will help the collective to access new markets and put SA at the forefront of cheesemaking.

“We hope to give SA the leading edge on cheesemaking by working with DairySafe SA towards unified standards and verification protocols for raw milk cheese production,” she says.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone says the goal is to enable high-end local cheesemakers to target the luxury food market overseas and interstate.

The collective also hopes to create new market opportunities and scalable food safety mechanisms, he says.

“This project would see strong collaboration across some of the state’s most highly skilled and passionate cheesemakers,” Mr Whetstone says.

“It is a pleasure to assist the South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective access the expertise they need to put other exceptional SA-made products on shelves around the country.”

The world of cheese will be celebrated in Adelaide later this year when Kris Lloyd brings back the popular Cheesefest (incorporating Ferment the Festival) at Rymill Park on October 27–28.

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