Can I Eat it? Raw-milk Cheese edition.
December 31, 2009 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I just received some delicious-looking raw-milk cheese in the mail. It was room temperature. It does not appear molded. It is shrink-wrapped. I'd hate to waste it, but I don't want to take any chances especially because it is raw-milk cheese.

Incidentally, it is from this producer. I called them, but no answer (probably off for the new year).
posted by verevi to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't understand. Why would you not eat it?
posted by atrazine at 10:44 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I assume this type of cheese should be refrigerated. Is that not a correct assumption?
posted by verevi at 10:45 AM on December 31, 2009

Cheese is left out at room temperature for weeks, months on end to cure it, so I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to dive right in and enjoy your new shipment! Enjoy!
posted by DogTired at 10:48 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

No need to refrigerate it.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:49 AM on December 31, 2009

Raw milk cheese should be refrigerated for long term storage. It's fine to eat after only a few days. Note: this does not apply to raw milk itself which must indeed be treated very carefully.
posted by atrazine at 10:53 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Go for it. People make cheese traditionally to preserve the dairy in the first place, even in the days pre-pasteurization. It's been a dark box that's likely been cold most of the time.

Was this a gift, or did you order it believing they would include dry ice or something? Either way, I feel 100% confident you'll be safe eating it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:04 AM on December 31, 2009

Best answer: IANAD. You do not say the age or type of cheese it is, but I will venture that it is likely to be safe, and no more dangerous, in any case, than a cheese made from pasteurized milk under the same conditions.

In the course of cheesemaking except for certain very young, fresh cheeses, the milk is typically innoculated with a bacteria or mix of bacteria which are benign if not beneficial to humans. The particular bacteria depend on the type of cheese being made. The milk is then soured by allowing it to rest in conditions optimal for the growth of that bacteria. Then it is turned into cheese.

Your cheese is likely to be so full of bacteria which can't hurt you that the ones which can hurt you don't have much of a chance to get in and reproduce in any great number. Even if they did, the fact it's raw milk doesn't change any of this calculus.

Remember that humans have been making and eating cheese far longer than we've been refrigerating food. Cheese is a way to preserve milk for long periods of time. You're almost certainly fine.
posted by gauche at 11:10 AM on December 31, 2009 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: It was a gift. It is Colby and various flavors of cheddar.

Thanks for the great responses. Guess what I am having for a snack later!
posted by verevi at 11:14 AM on December 31, 2009

If you're pregnant, you might want to be a bit careful. Otherwise....
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:41 AM on December 31, 2009

It is Colby and various flavors of cheddar.

I make cheeses.

Cheddars are aged months at cool (near-room) temperatures.

Go for it.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:43 PM on January 1, 2010

« Older Chicago -> Memphis -> Dallas -> Austin. Looking...   |   Cute, but they'd probably tear your face off Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.