Testimony: Before the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives. Food Safety and Quality. FDA can Improve Monitoring of Imported Cheese.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVE LOPMENT DIV
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FDA categorizes cheese as a high-risk food because it is susceptible to potentially fatal contamination from bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and salmonella. Soft, semi-soft, and surface-ripened cheese such as Brie and Camembert or other types of cheese made from unpasteurized milk are more susceptible to microbial contamination, because of their high moisture content and potentially high levels of bacteria, than are hard cheeses or cheeses made from pasteurized milk. About 35 percent of all cheese imported to the United States is of the soft or semi-soft type. Since 1985 the United States has annually imported an average of about 290 million pounds of cheese valued at about 390 million. Italy, France, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, and the Netherlands are the largest exporters of cheese to the United States--supplying about 60 percent of the nations imported cheese.
- Food, Food Service and Nutrition