Saturday, February 13, 2010

a letter from Anyi

I received a letter in the post during the week, and for one reason or another, didn't have a chance to open the letter until this morning. When I opened it I cried. Here's the letter from 3 year old Anyi (from Honduras).

Rebecca Varidel
Dear sponsor,

I take the pen and paper on my hands to address this letter to a special and important person like you. It's a nice afternoon and the birds eagerly sing around my house.

Rebecca, I hope you get many presents in this Christmas time and I wish you blessings. I send you lots of hugs and kisses. I am fine and in good health as well as my family.

I am on vacation and I was in kindergarten and learned to color. I know the colors and many more things. I received the family gift you sent me and I bought important things. The gift was $93.15 = Lpa 1761.47 and bought clothes and shoes. I think you for this gift you sent me in November. Here in my country we celebrate Christmas with our family and eat delicious sweet meals. I wish you a happy Christmas aside of your family.

So long. I hope you send me your letters and photos to get to know you. Receive hugs and kisses from me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

raw milk CHEESE needs YOUR VOICE

Last October a bunch of us had a bit of a treat. The dinner would have been a treat anyway, as it was cooked by Stefano Manfredi and his team at Bells at Killcare. The dinner ended with a guided tasting by Will Studd of 8 cheeses. Formaggella di Capri stagionata, Cave-aged Gorgonzola piccante, Bra Duro dAlpeggio raw milk, Cave-aged Fontina d'Aosta raw milk, Cacio di Bosca, Testun Foglie di Castagno, 2007 Toascolo Dolce (Zibibbo) and 2007 Speri Valpolicella Classico Superiore 'Ripasso'.

Now, if you're not sure why these were special, let me add another dimension to taste.

Currently in Australia, raw milk cheese cannot be produced, and also, we are not allowed to import these cheeses into Australia in quantity. I can, however, quite happily fly to Europe and eat them.

Will Studd has been lobbying for 15 years to have this changed. The challenge is now urgent. If you love food, PLEASE use your voice. Read below! Take action and put in a submission! AND, please pass this on ...

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Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is seeking public comment on its recently released proposals (P1007) to change Australian Food Standards for cheese in Australia.

If you want the opportunity to enjoy a complete range of raw milk cheese in Australia PLEASE make a submission (it’s easy - see Will Studd’s draft submission below). In summary your submission must be in writing and should be sent by email where possible include full contact details be submitted by 6pm (Canberra time) 24 February 2010.

In order to encourage as many people as possible to make a submission before the deadline, Will Studd has prepared the following draft submission. If you wish to send a submission you may copy and paste the following – adding your contact details and any of your own views or thoughts – and email to: submissions@foodstandards.gov.au

FSANZ has issued a list of questions that indicate areas that they are particularly interested in – Will’s draft covers the first 2 “Overarching” questions (questions in blue, Will’s answer in black), you may also like to answer the “Consumer” questions listed below – otherwise just delete them. Attached is Will’s summary of the situation FYI.

If you wish to read the full FSANZ proposal, it’s available at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/proposals/proposalp1007primary3953.cfmFor

full details on making a submission see: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/changingthecode/informationforsubmit1129.cfm

Copy and send from below here Submission regarding Proposal P1007 - Primary Production & Processing Requirements For Raw Milk Products

By your name, job title/position, address, telephone number, fax and email address

Overarching questions:

1) The overarching scope of the Proposal is assessing the safety of raw milk products using the Category Framework. FSANZ has undertaken a Technical Assessment based on three Risk Assessments (Raw Cow Milk, Raw Goat Milk and Raw Milk Cheese), a Consumer Study and Nutrition Assessment – Can you identify any aspects we have not covered at this point?

The Proposals exaggerate the risks of raw milk products.

They state that “Because of the potential for raw milk to be contaminated with pathogens, raw milk and products made from raw milk present a high level of risk to public health and safety if there are no control measures to manage the microbiological hazards that may be present.”

It is a false assumption that the risks are “high level” for raw milk products. A more realistic description for raw milk products is “they present an additional risk to public health and safety compared with products made from correctly pasteurised milk”.

2) We have summarised the impacts by option in Table 1 in the Report. Do you have any comments on the overall assessment? Can you identify other benefits and costs to the affected parties?

For raw milk cheese, the overall assessment seems to be far more alarmist than the technical assessment suggests. I consider that the technical assessment indicates that all soft cheese should be placed in Category 2, reserving Category 3 for raw drinking milk alone.

Include and answer below if you wish, otherwise delete Consumers:

3) Would Australian consumers benefit from a greater range of cheeses and dairy products? Please provide details.

4) FSANZ has received comments that raw milk cheeses are likely to be gourmet, high-end market products. Costs associated with ensuring the safety of products may also be passed on to the customer - if raw milk cheeses were permitted:
a. How much would you be willing to pay for such cheeses?
b. Are you willing to pay more than the cost of current gourmet cheeses?
c. Are you prepared to pay more if there are added costs in ensuring the safety of raw milk products?
d. Would you choose to purchase an Australian raw milk cheese over an imported equivalent?