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Berkshire blue cheese at New Amsterdam Market. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/susievision/4742362698">Susie Wyshak</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Berkshire blue cheese at New Amsterdam Market. Photo: Susie Wyshak, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

US Senators say FDA cheese rule hurts New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's U.S. senators are urging the Food and Drug Administration to issue better guidance for cheese aging, arguing that New York cheese makers will be hurt if they can't use wooden boards to age their cheese.

Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday said artisanal cheese makers in upstate New York are affected by the FDA's interpretation of a rule that could require costly changes to production.

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The FDA's interpretation of safety rule says wooden boards or shelves can't be properly sanitized and thus don't conform to food safety regulations.

On Tuesday the FDA backtracked on its stance, noting it hasn't taken any enforcement action on the wooden shelves and is open to evidence that cheese could be aged on wood safely. The agency later released a statement saying its recent communication on the issue was not intended as an official policy statement, but was provided as background information on the use of wooden shelving.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

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