Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Bruny Island Cheese

Given the comments on this blog in the previous post, I am adding the Media Release below from today:


Listeria in Bruny Island Cheese

The Acting Director of Public Health Dr Chrissie Pickin said today that authorities were working closely with a Bruny Island cheesemaker who had reported Listeria contamination in two separate batches of soft cheeses.
Dr Pickin said the Bruny Island Cheese Company had voluntarily withdrawn all of their soft cheeses from the market while investigations continue.

The company’s production licence has been suspended.

Dr Pickin said the Public and Environmental Health Service had sought further detailed information from the company on the batches affected and would make a decision today on whether to reinforce the voluntary product withdrawal with public notices.

“Bruny Island Cheese advised the Public and Environmental Health Service last week that routine laboratory testing of composite samples taken from batches of cheeses produced on June 23 and July 8 2009 had returned a preliminary finding of Listeria,” Dr Pickin said.

“The company voluntarily withdrew all remaining product from those batches while further testing was undertaken to confirm the preliminary results.

“The second round of microbiological test results was received yesterday, confirming the presence of Listeria in cheese produced on June 23, 2009. This batch has now passed its use-by date and is no longer present in the marketplace. The second round of testing on the July 8 batch was found to be negative.

“However, a separate test of soft cheese produced on July 23 also tested positive for Listeria”.

“As a result the company has withdrawn all its soft cheeses from shelves and its licence has been suspended by the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority.”

Dr Pickin said Bruny Island Cheese was a boutique low volume, high value producer of mostly hard cheeses, but also made some speciality soft white mould cheese, sold in small expensive packs from the cellar door and a small number of speciality cheese outlets.

“While this reduces the public health risk because this product is not in widespread circulation, some risk does remain.

“Listeria is widespread in nature and is commonly found in soil, plants and sewage. It has also been found in raw meat and vegetables and unpasteurised milk. Some exposure to Listeria is unavoidable.
“Infection with Listeria may cause few or no symptoms in healthy people, although if symptoms do develop they can include fever, headache, aches and pains, vomiting and diarrhoea, and rarely, more serious complications such as meningitis and septicaemia.
“Those at most risk from this infection include pregnant women and unborn babies (miscarriage and stillbirth can occur), the very young, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.
“There is very good advice to pregnant women to avoid eating soft cheeses and because of the nature of this product it is considered highly unlikely that it would be widely consumed among at-risk groups.”

Anyone concerned about Listeria should talk to their local doctor or the Public and Environmental Health Service on 1800 671 738. Food Standards Australia New Zealand has also prepared an information pamphlet for pregnant women, which can be obtained from www.foodstandards.gov.au
Posted on by Rita
54 comments

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would it have anything to do with using that raw milk that I read about a while back? I thought I read somewhere that they were the first cheesery in the state(country?)to be allowed to do raw milk trial batches?
My understanding is that raw milk cheeses are not allowed to be produced in Oz primarily because of listeria concerns. If this is the case then this incident will possibly present a major setback for the raw milk lobbyists

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Use of raw (unpasteurised) milk does not pose a listeria threat at all PROVIDED a thorough and all-encomassing quality system is implemented, in all stages of production. Refer to many European cheeses, eg all Roquefort, most Camembert (de Normandie HAS to be made from raw milk by law) etc etc is made from unpasteurised milk and there are no listeria issues.

It all boils down the care and dedication of the cheesemakers and producers, and the thoroughness of the department responsible for inspection.

I think that if we are to allow raw milk cheese to be produced in Australia (I'm all for it), then our cheesemakers and agencies need to get on board and make sure it's done properly!

Anonymous said...

Last anon-are you the n suggesting that in Bruny Island case, its not being done properly?
Either way a listeria problem is a listeria problem. I'm sure their practices are being scrutinized as we speak.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Obviously the process is lacking somewhere.

Point 1. The press release states a positive listeria result in a soft cheese. Soft cheese cannot be produced from raw milk in Australia. So the affected cheese is not a raw milk cheese.

Point 2. I don't understand how a production in June 23 does not return a positive test until now. Was it not tested until now?

And yes, a listeria problem is a listeria problem. I can see this whole thing turing into a circus about the unsafe nature of raw milk cheese. It's not and this is about sloppy practices in general.

Posted by "last anon"

reb said...

whatever the cause, it's a real shame. It will cause the guy a lot of damage. I just hope they can bounce back from this. We need good local boutique suppliers.

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duck leg said...

Wow - everyone is going to town on the local cheese producers!! Interesting reading....

Anonymous said...
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steve said...

Last anon you are completely wrong about Nick not having any prior cheesemaking experience prior to working at Pyengana. I know for a fact he worked as a cheesemaker at the Milawa Cheese Co in Victoria. He has also done stages at several leading cheese makers in Aus & Europe before moving here. Also he managed Will Studds cheese room at the Richmond Hill cafe with Stephanie Alexander, add to that a Churchill Fellowship-they dont just give those away to someone without any background in the field.

If you intend to character assasinate someone, I suggest you get your facts right first.

Give the guy a break, yes there have been some cheese issues over the years, this one being the most serious, but the cheesemaking scene here would be a whole lot less colourful without Nick's, energy, vision & chutzpah.

Yes he has some detractors, but all of us do. Why not let him & his team get on & rectify this situation without trying to bury him entirely?

Rita said...

I agree with Duck Leg above regarding everyone going to town on local cheesemakers. I am looking at deleting some of the comments above due to their personal nature, and being very much aware that this is a public forum, with some comments made here being potentially libelous.

For that reason I apologise in advance if some comments don't make sense or seem out of context.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that you as editor of this page contact Pyengana Dairy and Grand Ewe before you edit comments.

Anonymous said...

Might I suggest that you come out from your veil of anonymity & declare whom you are & your apparrent grievences, that way you can stand by your comments & be held accountable for them. We both know that that wont happen because its easy to slag off someone as a gutless anon

Anonymous said...

tall poppy syndrome at its best.

TJ.

Anton said...

Sad to observe the cowardly detractors emerge from the woodwork like so many anonymous maggots. I am amazed by the pugnacious yet utterly gutless posters above and their comments - it's a damn shame. Looks like there's a lot of resentment and dare I say jealousy out there. An accident like this can happen, let's allow our local cheesemaker(s) to rectify what caused it and move on.

brendan said...

Yes anonymous slanderer, do want to come out and put your name to your comments?

duck leg said...

With such brutal comments more people will start second guess our local producers! Is this what you want to happen? Remember when you slander these people they to have opinions and are working hard to make a name for Tassie (and themselves)! Do not to ruin this industry with your not so factual 'facts'.
I would recommend deleting these posts as it is quite disheartening to even this little black duck.

Anton said...

I agree with duck leg - delete the malicious posts immediately. They are counterproductive and obviously they've been posted by people with a lot of very personal grievances - nothing to do with this forum, the industry or Rita's site. May I suggest that if you have a personal issue, pursue it elsewhere and leave this forum. At the very least, cut out the maliciousness and downright absurdness and back your claims with your identity.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that all anonymous posts can be tracked back to the computer that they were sent from.

In the US recently this was done to find a contributor who had called somebody a 'skank', amongst other things. In the end legal action for US$2,000,000 damages was withdrawn. But the contributor was still named and shamed!

So clearly a line has to be drawn by all the anons who use this forum for possibly libelous comments.

Do so at your own risk!

As far as Rita goes, I am not sure what her liabilities are, I'm sure there are a few lawyers blogging, who could put in some free advice!


P

Rita said...

I have just deleted the Anon comments above which were slanderous and, because of their anonymous nature, can't be substantiated.

I have been at a meeting most of the morning, thus unable to edit these till now.

Should anyone else want to comment further on this subject, please observe the normal courtesies you would expect if we were all sitting together in a restaurant over a meal and a wine, rather than as if we were all off our faces and belting the bejesus out of some poor sucker who had the temerity to eyeball us!

Nick - if you read this I would like to extend my apologies for the comments as mentioned above on this blog.

Anonymous said...

you can make the statement that one restaurant got caught with a cat in the freezer but anon is not aloud to have a opinion on one of your mates

Anonymous said...

Acting director of public health Doctor Chrissie Pickin is advising consumers to dispose of the cheeses produced on June 23rd and July 8th.

"Usually there's a system where you test and you don't release the product to the market place until those test results have come back," she said.

"In this case we believe it was released before the test results were back which is why we're having this recall now."

Interesting!

P

sir grumpy said...

Well done Rita. I will say I've had some Bruny Island Cheese and it was bloody delicious.

Anonymous said...

It would be a brave bit of listeria to take on Sir Grumpy. I know who I would be putting my money on!

P

Anonymous said...

all this silly bickering makes for a very boring read, especially with all the deleted bits

Anonymous said...

Then get your own blog you twat!

Victor said...

I agree with Sir Grumpy. I haven't had bad experience with Nick's cheese. Most recent was a soft cheese, The Saint. I am still around kicking.

This is a very difficult and sensitive issue. It doesn't help with all the Anon(s) being so negative and harsh on Nick. If you feel so strongly about Nick doing the wrong thing, then show "yourself". Why hide behind a curtain of "Anon"? Rita - good on you to remove those malicious comments! People are always so quick to judge and fail to offer any constructive solution.

Anton said...

Very much agreed, Victor!

I think we're lucky to have the gifted and determined boutique cheesemakers at Grandvewe, Bignells, Bruny Island, Pyengana et al (not to mention the legends that started Heidi) here in our blessed state.

Have to say I'm sorry to see the comments here (previosly, prior to their deletion) - I'm blown away! What is the issue here? To the detractors and misguided posters on this forum it seems not to be about a listeria positive result in a miniscule batch of cheese, but seems to be about a whole lot of personal issues. It's ridiculous!

Long live and prosper the people in Tasmania who are determined to grow and produce what are in my opinion some of the most outstanding products in the world, Bruny Island Cheese Co very much amongst them.

Anonymous said...

i like Bruny Island cheese but I think that other people have the right not to or not like the owner. And it shits me that rita has her favourites and that no one can say a bad word about.

duck leg said...

Well said Sir G, Anton and Victor.

Rita said...

Anon 9.27 - it shits me too that as much trouble as I go to in order to explain exactly the reason why I deleted the comments I did today, you can come along and say I have my favourites and no one can say a bad word about them.

How can that possibly shit you that I have an opinion?

Of course I have my favourites. You have YOUR favourites too. We're humans, for christs sake! We like some stuff, we don't like other stuff. That's called being alive and being able to exercise our own choices.

I always declare upfront that someone IS a friend of mine, or a restaurant IS a favourite of mine for exactly the reason so everyone knows upfront that they should take the fact that the place (ie Marque IV) IS one of my favourites into account.

Countless times I have left comments on here that I totally disagree with, but feel that everyone has the right to express their opinions here, so leave them on.

Today, it was more than opinion that was being expressed here on this blog. It was personal slander. It was like people standing round watching someone else get beaten up, and no one offering to help out. I will never shy away from defending someone who is in that situation, whether I like them or not.

I detest someone picking on someone else deliberately, and will NOT sanction it. I make no apology for that.

Anyone can say bad things about places I myself like. As I have written at the top of my Restaurants page - my reviews are just an account of ONE person's experience on the day. I am NOT the ultimate authority on the subject of which restaurant is the best in Hobart. No one is. It's sheerly up to anyone's individual tastes and preferences.

If you go to somewhere I have recommended and find it shit, there are so many reasons why that might be, but mostly because we're all different; we have different preferences in food and flavours and tastes. That's not bad or wrong. It's normal. You can come back here and tell me I'm full of shit but that doesn't change the fact that you probably were never going to find it as good as I did anyway, for too many reasons to go into now.

If you have opinions on these matters (and others) and want to write about them, you could try doing as I did - and start a blog yourself. It's great fun!

Anonymous said...

Am I reading this right?

Bruny Island cheese test their own product and find a problem.

They contact the health department and report it.

People have a problem with this!!!

I would say that that was a responsible selfless action that took maturity, leadership and guts. Given the potential harm they knew this could cause the business, with the lysteria hysteria some people have in Hobart.
I say they should be applauded for their action.
Afterall, how many much larger captains of industry and politicians go to great lengths to cover their screwups.

Oh, and before we get into bacteria, its a fact of life. I swear, the negative people commenting here sound like Howard Hughes.

Anonymous said...

Rita you poor thing!

I'd just like to say that I have heard of a few people who have valid issues concerning the above company so as you can see - when there is an opportunity for some kind of justice, they take it and it is understandable.

I personally don't by (or buy) it at all due to Bruny Island Cheeses very public shaming of Grandewe a few years ago, where they were evicted from using Grandewe's premises and told the town of Hobart that the eviction was due to Grandewe not coping with their success when in fact, they simply weren't paying their rent. I suggest you make some calls Rita - the truth is important, especially in a public forum such as your blog - and people should be allowed to express this - within reason of course and this is for your discretion.

N.B I am remaining anon for professional reasons but will be looking into this issue further myself.

Rita said...

Hi Anon 8.21. Thank you SO much for your rational response to various comments, and my own pov. I respect and appreciate where you are coming from, and need to acknowledge that here too.

In the interests of clarity and fairness, I am more than happy to publish anything you might want to add either now or down the track to this public debate which you obviously have more to add to. Email me, or add it as a comment, please.

Anonymous said...

my mother used to say, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'.

As a child I used to get very embarassed by all my mother's sayings and cliches, but now, in hindsight, combined with a little maturity (perhaps) there is much wisdom in many of these saying that get lost in modern times.

Slow down, smell the roses, appreciate what we have, think before you speak (or type), treat others as you would like to be treated, agree to disagree.

happy friday... TJ.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to read what so many people have to say. But do you actually know how much damage this could be doing to a small producer in Tassie? So many chefs, producers, suppliers get one bad comment on blogs such as these, and they suffer for a very long time. Give the guy a break. Yes Listeria was found, but he acknowledged it, and did something about it and let everyone know. Would you all rather he said nothing at all? Mistakes are made and no one is perfect, things happen.

So if you get one bad experience somewhere, don't write them off. Ask youself, how would you liked to be judged on one experience? Everyone diserves another go. As for slandering someone on a blog. Think to yourself, how would you like it if someone said things about you which could ruin your career/ business?

Anonymous said...

I agree last anon. Exactly like the restaurant types that slag off other businessses that they feel get more press or acclaim than themselves. Get over yourselves, concentrate on what you do & not worry about the unfairness of it all.

reb said...

It's sheer cowardice for people to make unsubstantiated comments about others under the guise of anonymity when me and duck leg are putting our opinions and true identities on the line!

Anonymous said...

It is not about being anonymous. Reb and duck leg etc are just names to most of us. They may as well be an annon! It dosen't tell us if you are in hospitality, what you do, are you qualified to make judgement on others? Or if you actually know a anything about food, service, being a chef, producer supplier etc. Are you just an interested member of the public who is gardener by trade, locksmith, painter?

Be careful what you say about people, as they all, especially those in hospitality, are so easily affected by published comments. This is the same for GP as his reviews in the paper can dramatically and immediatly affect a restaurant. After, it is simply an opinion of one person. Put yourself in the position person of the that you are commenting about. Mistakes are one thing, but a continual barrage on the subject is silly and so damaging.

Hazel said...

New day - new topic - Rita have you been to Hobart Noodle?
We went last night and the noodles are delicious - so smooth. The servings are more than generous, we tried the satay and the soy & mushroom both fantastic and just what was needed on a cold night in Hobart while waiting to go to the circus. The best bit was watching our dinner be tossed in the wok- don't think we'll bother to stir-fry at home ever again ;)
Thoroughly recomend it.

duck leg said...

to make it all fair and stand by my comments. My name is Tenille. I am front office manager of a hotel in Hobart and previous to this i was a chef in 2 local establishments. I still have many friends in the industry and only want to see every restaurant, cafe, bar, hotel, producer in Hobart do well and promote Tasmania for what it is - the best destination in Australia.
i dont know any of these producers but dont believe in slandering and bullying people.
So be it....

Rita said...

Hi Hazel - thanks. No I haven't yet been there but it's on the 'to go to' listing! Can't wait.
Duck leg - hmmm! Now I know exactly who Duck Leg is, it all fits in! Thanks for being so brave as to put your name and position to your comments. I salute and thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am totally positive and supportive about all local industry but clearly we must have some standards.

Can somebody explain to me how the cheese industry works.

Is it really like this:

"Usually there's a system where you test and you don't release the product to the market place until those test results have come back," she said.

"In this case we believe it was released before the test results were back which is why we're having this recall now."

Is cheese so complicated that every batch is tested and held back until the OK is received?

And if that is the case, what went wrong this time?


P

Victor said...

I think this debate is overheated to its "Boiling" point. We should put it to rest and move on. Or, should we call it the "Cheese-Gate"? Unfortunately there is no such thing as breaking up for "winter break".

Rita - I am with Hazel. Hobart Noodle - the noodle is fresh and organic.

Anonymous said...

steve, i agree wholeheartedly with your point about getting your facts straight. The Churchill Fellowship.."That they don't give away to just anyone". I have looked on the Churchill Fellowship" website where all fellowships are listed back to 1969. I ran a search for our cheesemaker and there seems to be no mention of him. Please run your own search, maybe my computer has something wrong with it. Also you would imagine that Richmond Hill Larder would carry his stock,especially after managing the cheese room but there seems to be no mention of his cheeses on their website.I want The boutique industries in Tasmania as part of our new economy, as much as you. My intention is not to slander anyone, but rigorous examination of published self-promotion should be the collective responsibility of the whole industry. When one engages in this kind of scrutiny, and this is followed by accusations of assassination what hope have we got?

Homer said...

Doh! ODO makes the BEST pizzas.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the 51 comments on Bruny island cheese.
It is a very unfortunate situation for Bruny Island cheese. It is a beautifully hand-made product that we are all proud of. Lets hope Nick can get back to producing again soon. HOWEVER
It is important to note that ALL cheese (each bacth/vat)is sent for individual prior testing for any bacteria etc that could be potentilly harmful for consumption.
The only question that can be asked are the following:

1)Was the cheese was sent out to the market BEFORE the test results came back?
or 2) Was the cheese sent out AFTER the results came back?

Regardless of the answer it no doubt has been a disapointing outcome that could and should have been avoided.

Get back making that delicious cheese Nick...

Anonymous said...

is it true that bruny island cheese is bankrupt? are they going to make cheese again? i'm devastated!

i hope it's not true!

Rita said...

I have been led to believe that BIC will resume production quite soon, so please don't panic quite yet Anon!