The story of Roquefort in Australia is significant and has made big changes for the world of cheese in Australia. Continue reading for a little history and a cheese story that has had a significant impact.
A Little History:
As many readers will know, Australia has some strict food importation rules.
One such rule is no importation of unpasteurised (raw) milk cheese. However, there are always some exceptions to this rule. Imports of Swiss Gruyere, Emmental and Parmigiano Reggiano are legal.
The reason unpasteurised cheese cannot be imported is due to the suggested health risks associated with consuming raw milk products.
However, it is the traditional method for making cheese, particularly French styles such as Brie and Camembert.
There were even some issues selling unpasteurised cheese in Australia that had been produced with Australian milk.
Of course, the risks of eating unpasteurised cheese are minimal. However, there is the concern of some harmful bacteria present, such as E.coli and Salmonella.
Who is Will Stud?
Will Stud is a big name in the cheese world, in Australia as well as other parts of Europe. He selects the best cheese to bring to Australia, as well as having a significant impact on change in the cheese world.
Roquefort is a French blue cheese made with unpasteurised milk. In 2002, Will Studd imported a large quantity of Roquefort in Australia. This caused some biosecurity issues and was eventually taken to court.
After a 2 year legal battle, in 2004 it was decided that the imported Roquefort in question was not allowed to be sold in Australia. As such, it needed to be destroyed.
The Roquefort, along with a French flag, was buried at a waste centre in Port Melbourne, Victoria.
Of course, this caused a lot of embarrassment in Australia and the arguments between France and Australia began.
After a long and lengthy appeal, in 2005 the ban was repealed and traditional Roquefort was allowed to be imported and sold in Australia, and still is today.
Roquefort in Australia Today:
There is still a lot of work needed and involved to change the importation laws in Australia. However, the work of people such as Will Studd are helping to change this.
Note: Many traditional unpasteurised kinds of cheese that are sold in Australia are usually pasteurised versions. This ensures they comply with importing laws and can be consumed safely.