FDA backpedals on cheese board ban

Department looking into individual state guidelines, not new federal rule

A threat to part of the cheese making process has faded.

Earlier this week, the FDA said it wanted to ban the use of wooden boards to age cheese, saying the boards are unsanitary.

Wednesday, the FDA clarified that it was looking into guidelines in individual states, not putting out a new rule.

In Wisconsin, cheese boards are allowed as long as they follow protocol set by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The Nordic Creamery in Westby says if some of their cheeses had been forced off of the wooden boards, they also would have been taken off the shelf.

“That cheese would almost turn to mush where it’s sitting if we couldn’t use [those] boards to try to get some of that moisture away from the cheese,” said Al Bekkum, owner of Nordic Creamery. “We’ve tried it before, and it just doesn’t work very well.”

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association says 30 million pounds of cheese are aged on wood in the state every year.