Cheesemakers are pushing back against France’s strict rules as some say climate change is making it impossible to meet the traditional standards – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Cheesemakers are pushing back against France’s strict rules as some say climate change is making it impossible to meet the traditional standards

Rognaix (French Alps, south-eastern France). Company ‘Les caves d’Affinage de Savoie’, cheese ripener. Washed-rind Tomme cheeses ripened with beer.

Andia/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Hotter and drier summers are making it harder for French cheesemakers to meet traditional standards.Some cheesemakers are still experimenting while others are calling for the rules to be changed.Climate change also threatens foods like Georgia peaches and Alaska snow crabs.

France has famously strict standards for how its quality cheeses are made, but some cheesemakers say they’re getting harder and harder to meet.

French cheesemakers told The New York Times that climate change is impacting their ability to follow traditional methods for quality cheeses, including some of the 46 cheeses that carry the prestigious AOP label, which stands for “Appellation d’Origine Protégée” or “Protected Designation of Origin.”

Cheeses that carry an AOP label, such as Camembert de Normandie and Roquefort, have to meet certain standards and quality levels. Those standards can cover every stage of the cheesemaking process, from the breeds of animals producing the milk to what those animals eat and when they can graze.

Now some cheesemakers are arguing those rules may need to be changed, as hotter and drier summers are killing some pastures.

“The whole system was built on the fact that we had certain cereals and hay available — all the rules were written with that in mind,” Simon Bouchet, from the association for the French goat cheese Picodon, told the outlet. “But with climate change and droughts, all that has been called into question.”

The Times reported that the standards for one specific type of French cheese required cows to graze on a mountain pasture for seven months. However, there was no longer enough grass, so the cheesemakers stopped producing the cheese altogether.

After a heatwave last year, some cheese associations got permission from the regulatory body to break from the rules. Other cheesemakers are experimenting to see how they can produce the same quality product and still meet the traditional rules, despite changes in the environment.

“We are studying all the aspects of cheesability,” one cheesemaker working on an experimental goat farm told the Times. The farm, led by cheesemakers, is seeing if they can get the same results with milk from goats that graze on drought-resistant crops like sorghum, which is not typically grown in France.

“We’ve assembled a jury of experts that will taste test the cheese to make sure it follows all the rules,” the cheesemaker said. “They have about 20 criteria of taste.”

French cheese is only the latest beloved food product threatened by climate change, which is making global food systems more vulnerable.

Changing and unpredictable weather patterns in Georgia destroyed up to 90% of the state’s peach crop. Some farmers said it was the greatest loss of their peach crop they’d seen in their lifetime. Michigan’s iconic tart cherries have faced similar problems.

And in Alaska the snow crab season has been cancelled for the second year in a row after billions of crabs seemingly disappeared.

In a new study, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the snow crab collapse was likely due to a marine heatwave in 2018 and 2019 that increased “their caloric needs considerably,” leading to a mass starvation event.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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