Ashy Issues With The FDA

The FDA stopped another shipment of French ash-covered goat’s milk cheeses from coming into this country. This time it was a shipment intended for World’s Best Cheeses one of the Olsson’s Fine Foods’ vendors. The cheeses were considered to have an illegal colorant in the form of ash. This ash is of plant origin and has been used since time immemorial as a coating on, especially goat’s milk, cheeses. The intent with the ash is to draw out some of the acidity of the cheese and encourage the formation of the bloomy rind mold on the surface.

After the last FDA rejection in 2015 some ash-covered and infused cheese producers looked at alternatives for the vegetable ash to get their cheeses into the American market. That is why Morbier as such is no longer available in the US. Distributed under new names and with different “ash” solutions, such as wine lees for the Morbier lookalike Montboissie (hence the purplish look) or cocoa powder for the Secret de Scey, the French cheesemakers maintained a presence in the market.

As it stands the FDA seems intent on not allowing any true ash covered cheeses from Europe into the country. Where this leaves the domestically produced ash-covered and infused cheeses is yet to be seen.