We are a group of Scottish farmhouse cheesemakers specialising in the production of traditional, artisan raw milk cheese.
We believe that new Guidance for the regulation of Scotland’s raw milk cheese production, introduced on 21 December 2018, will effectively make raw milk cheese production in Scotland unviable. This would eradicate decades worth of knowledge and expertise from our nation’s food heritage and would remove many award winning fine cheeses from Scotland’s national cheeseboard.
As responsible producers of fine food we share Food Standard Scotland’s belief that sound food safety management protocols are required for all food production. We believe that the Guidance introduced on 21 Dec 2018 could be amended to satisfy both industry and food safety requirements.
However, the Guidance as written at present does not reflect, and is contrary to, agreed EU industry guidance and established best practice. This places Scotland’s artisan cheesemaking industry at a competitive disadvantage and at high risk of closure, potentially damaging our nation’s growing reputation as a land of food and drink.
We have written to Food Standards Scotland to request that the new Guidance be suspended to allow solutions-focussed collaboration with the industry. To date this request has been refused.
We wish to challenge the lawfulness of the Guidance by way of a Judicial Review in the Court of Session. We only have a very short window of time in which to do this. Therefore while we remain hopeful that FSS may yet suspend the Guidance and collaborate with the industry, if there is to be any hope of saving Scotland’s raw milk cheese industry, we are obliged to initiate proceedings now.
The risk of not taking this action is that Scotland’s artisan unpasteurised cheesemakers will be effectively shut down, while unpasteurised cheese produced elsewhere, with less stringent regulation, could still be sold in Scotland.
We are hoping to raise an initial £15,000 to pay for legal fees for the first stage to prepare and submit a judicial review to try to save Scotland’s artisan cheesemaking industry.
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