So all of this public concern about a potential ban on artisanal cheesemaking is really just much ado about nothing? The FDA backed down, right?
No, and no.
The agency’s statement also says that the FDA “will engage with the artisanal cheesemaking community” based on FDA’s historic concerns “about whether wood meets [agency food safety] requirement[s.]” It will also “invite stakeholders to share any data or evidence they have gathered related to safety and the use of wood surfaces.”
Parsing this language is almost unnecessary. The FDA still wants to ban the use of wooden crates in cheesemaking.
When the FDA “invites stakeholders” to “engage” with its bureaucrats, only bad things happen. When those stakeholders lack a powerful lobby in Washington, D.C., it’s time to expect the worst.
The recent FDA chronology bears this out. Recall that the FDA invited the makers of Four Loko and other beers that contained added caffeine to talk with the agency. This period of engagement between Four Loko “stakeholders” and the FDA ended with the agency banning the product.