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Ontario Cheese laws


Jeebus
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I was looking at several sites but have been unable to find the exact laws regarding unpasturized cheese in Ontario and or Canada. Does anyone have a site they could recomend? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

www.azurerestaurant.ca

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Don't know if you saw it, but there is an article in Today's Toronto Star on Ontario Cheeses. They also list some associations - you might want to start by contacting them. I'd think they'd have a good resource to point you toward.

foodpr0n.com 11/01/17: A map of macarons in Toronto // For free or for a fee - bring your bottle! corkagetoronto.com

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Don't know if you saw it, but there is an article in Today's Toronto Star on Ontario Cheeses. They also list some associations - you might want to start by contacting them. I'd think they'd have a good resource to point you toward.

I read that article and that is what prompted me to ask the question. I look at several of the sites but could not find what I was looking for. Thanks for the help though

www.azurerestaurant.ca

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What exactly are you trying to figure out, Jeebs?

I know you can purchase unpasturized cheeses.  Global cheeses has a selection of amazing unpasturized french goat cheeses...amongst others.

I know you can buy unpasturized cheeses but from what i understand they all would have to be aged a minimum of 60 days. however Goat, sheeps and Ewe milk all seem to be pretty much unregulated.

I was just trying to find out exactly what the wording is as we are putting a big push on our cheeses right now and i want to make sure I am giving out the correct information.

www.azurerestaurant.ca

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The best way to describe the laws are s$%?%$#@@$%??**(!!!!

No province is the same. I believe that ON does not allow unpasturized to be produced here, but it can be sold (depending on age, of which I have forgotten if it must be well aged or fresh).

I know there are licences (there may be another bureacratic term for it) that you can have to import cheese. Alex Farms has one, Cheese Boutique does not. Because of this, Armin, of Cheese Boutique, must pay a premium on his imports (this does not change the quality of the cheese purchased though)

I also remember having a conversation with Ruth Klausen of Monforte Dairy about why her cheese does not include milk from dairy cows. She said something along the lines that it is very difficult to obtain some of the milk quota from the dairy board (hence, only goats and sheeps milk). I know that some of this might be a little inaccurate, but for the most part, true. I love cheese, and only wish that ON had more artisanal cheesemakers

Bureaucrats and Politicians be Damned I Say!

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Section 18 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.S.O.1990, c. H 7, for those scoring along at home), says:

18. (1) No person shall sell, offer for sale, deliver or distribute milk or cream that has not been pasteurized or sterilized in a plant that is licensed under the Milk Act or in a plant outside Ontario that meets the standards for plants licensed under the Milk Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7, s. 18 (1).

Milk products

(2) No person shall sell, offer for sale, deliver or distribute a milk product processed or derived from milk that has not been pasteurized or sterilized in a plant that is licensed under the Milk Act or in a plant outside Ontario that meets the standards for plants licensed under the Milk Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7, s. 18 (2).

So, seems like no unpasteurized cheese for us - at least if there are no exceptions to that section.

However, there's also a Milk act, and a Milk and Milk products reg that I haven't had a chance to give a good look at yet (I merely did a quick search for cheese in Ont statutes and regs). But, a quick search didn't turn up any exceptions to s. 18(2), although it does say the milk product (er, cheese in our case) does not have to be pasteurized as long as it is sterilized. Which isn't defined under the Act. Or the Milk Act. Or the Milk and Milk Products reg. But, that doesn't seem to offer much leeway.

I haven't looked at any of the federal stuff - they have some jurisdiction over food safety and agriculture - but the provinces likely have jurisdiction over this, and I'm not sure from a quick search that selling unpasteurized cheese is legal. S. 18(2) above doesn't speak to making the stuff though - although there may have been something in the Milk Act or regs about that (I'm sure there was, actually - but off the top of my head I can only recall the reg specifying the times and temperatures at which milk for cheese making must be pasteurized.).

When I get time, I'll try and dig a bit deeper into pasteurization and what foods require it. I suspect much will be clearer after that.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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Here's the answer.

The Food Premises reg under the Health Promotion Act stipulates:

Milk and Milk Products

42. (1) Milk products shall be pasteurized or made from milk that has been pasteurized by heating the milk product to a temperature of at least,

(a) 63° Celsius and holding it at that temperature for not less than thirty minutes;

(b) 72° Celsius and holding it at that temperature for not less than sixteen seconds; or

© such temperature other than a temperature referred to in clause (a) or (b) for such period of time that will result in the equivalent destruction of pathogenic organisms and phosphatase. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 42 (1).

(2) A milk product shall be sterilized by heating the milk product to a temperature of 135° Celsius and holding it at that temperature for not less than two seconds, or to such other temperature for such period of time that will result in sterilization. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 42 (2).

43. (1) Milk products other than butter and goat milk shall be deemed to have been pasteurized if the product is negative when tested for the presence of alkaline phosphatase as determined by the official method. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 43 (1).

(2) A milk product shall be deemed to have been sterilized if a sample of the product is free of living organisms as determined by an official method. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 43 (2).

44. Despite subsection 43 (1),

(a) butter shall be deemed to have been made from pasteurized milk or cream if it is negative when tested for the presence of peroxidase as determined by an official method; and

(b) goat milk shall be deemed to have been pasteurized if the recording thermometer chart indicates the milk was heated as required in section 42. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 44.

45. Subsection 18 (2) of the Act does not apply to cheese made from unpasteurized milk if the cheese has been stored at a temperature not lower than 2° Celsius for a period of not less than sixty days following the time of manufacture. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 45.

46. (1) Milk products shall be cooled immediately after pasteurization to a temperature of at least 5° Celsius or less. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 46 (1).

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a milk product that,

(a) is to be further processed prior to packaging, then cooled to 5° Celsius, or less;

(b) has been sterilized and is to be or is aseptically packaged; or

© is processed by drying. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 46 (2).

So, s. 45 gives you the storage for more than sixty days exemption. (Interesting that it gives a lower temperature for storage but no limit for the upper temperature.) S. 43 also provides for the possibility of an exemption provided the cheese passes certain tests. I have no idea if unpasteurized cheeses would be able to pass either of those tests. Anybody?

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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What exactly are you trying to figure out, Jeebs?

I know you can purchase unpasturized cheeses.  Global cheeses has a selection of amazing unpasturized french goat cheeses...amongst others.

I know you can buy unpasturized cheeses but from what i understand they all would have to be aged a minimum of 60 days. however Goat, sheeps and Ewe milk all seem to be pretty much unregulated.

I was just trying to find out exactly what the wording is as we are putting a big push on our cheeses right now and i want to make sure I am giving out the correct information.

Oh, just looked up the definition of milk. (Doncha luv the law?) Under the Milk Act, it is (currently) cow and goat milk only. So, my comments below on s. 18(2) would apply only to cow and goat cheeses - sheeps' milk would not come under that section. Unpasteurized sheep's milk cheeses are apparently ok - no matter the storage period. So it's only cow and goat milk cheeses that need be pasteurized under 18(2) of the Health Promotion etc Act but can be sold if stored properly for greater than 60 days and/or meeting one of the s. 43 tests under the Food premises reg. (BTW, check out what restaurants are required by law to do to the fish they serve - if cooked. Can't remember the section, but it's appalling and I suspect seldom observed).

Ok, must sleep. Will try and revisit this tomorrow with a clearer head. But I think I've got it right now.

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I'm wondering -- has anyone tried bringing young, unpasteurized cheeses back into Canada with them from, say, a trip to France?  Does the 60 days of aging rule apply as well to imports for personal consumption?

I don't know what the law is on this, but it's likely federal, not provincial. I suspect there's a blanket ban on bringing in non-processed foodstuffs (fruit, cheese, salami, seeds, breads, etc.) on or with your person. Must be rules around bringing stuff in as an importer for sale or resale as well, which may touch on federal and provincial jurisdiction - but the rule on the end seller of unpasteurized cheeses to the public in Ontario would seem to be s. 18(2) of the Health Promotion etc Act, and the exceptions listed above. They don't distinguish between Ontario and non-Ontario cheeses, whether they be imported from outside the province, or outside the country.

Ah, the constitutional division of powers.

But, that didn't really answer your question, did it? Time permitting, I'll do a quick search of the federal law, but I have a hunch the answer will be really easy to find, or ridiculously complex.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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