CHEESE 2001 E.A.T. Meets At Cheese 2001

On Friday, the opening day of Cheese 2001, E.A.T., the European Alliance for Artisan and Traditional Raw Milk Products, held its annual meeting here in Bra. The association, which was founded two years ago by Sir Julian Rose, the current president, seeks to help small traditional European raw milk cheese producers whose activity is jeopardized by legislation recently passed by the EU Agriculture Commission, and its ultimate goal is to form a panEuropean alliance among such producers to assist them in their struggle against laws tailormade for large-scale retail distribution and industry. Yesterday delegations from all the major organizations representing artisan cheesemakers in Europe attended the E.A.T. meeting. Those present included: Pascale Baudonnel of Norskgarzost, the Norwegian association which works to defend traditional cheeses; Humphrey Harrington, president of the Farmer Cheesemakers of Scotland; Anne Vitting, a lawyer specialized in the defense of Danish producers; Anna Soeiro and Manuela Barbosa of the Portuguese Minister of Agriculture; Anton Schmutz, of the Swiss association Fromarte; (for France) Michel Veschambre, president of the Syndicat de Défense for Cantal and Salers cheese; Patrice Chassard, president of the Syndicat de Défense for Saint Nectaire cheese; Kacem Boussouar with Milaine Morel, director and secretary of the Centre Fromager de Carmejane, in the French Alps; Robert Arnaut and Yolande Moulem, president and secretary of the Federation Nationale Éleveurs Caprin; Thileke and Marc Lesty, producers of Rambouillet cheese (Marc is also secretary general of F.N.E.C.); André Valadier, vice-president of the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine; Jean Jacques Bret, director of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Gruyère de Comté; Roberto Rubino, editor of Caseus magazine and director of the Italian Associazione Nazionale Formaggi Sotto il Cielo and Clara Laurita of the same association; and Carlo Gomez de Teran, in representation of the Associazione Italiana Commercianti di Prodotti Lattiero-Caseari.This presence of so many distinguished experts and associations demonstrates that the aims of E.A.T. are widely shared at European level. E.A.T. now intends to become a point of reference for the movement in Brussels. At yesterday’s meeting, two priority objectives were identified. It was decided: i) to monitor and coordinate the research programs that are being pursued in the various European countries to demonstrate the beneficial effects of raw milk and stimulate new projects; ii) to set up a secretariat in Brussels to lobby at EC level and create a pressure group to work with Euro MPs sensitive to the issues in question.Though EU legislation envisages the right of Member Countries to consume raw milk cheeses, not all of them have aknowledged the fact. In Scotland and Denmark, for example, raw milk cheese production is banned, while England, Germany and Ireland policies are being implemented to discourage and destroy the practice.Opening the meeting, Sir Julian Rose announced that: ‘We are happy to be collaborating with Slow Food in the promotion and protection of Europe’s finest raw milk artisan cheeses. We regard it as an honor to have been asked to compose the Manifesto In defense of raw Milk Cheeses, which is now receiving worldwide support, and we thank Slow Food for offering facilities for our meeting.We need to greatly increase consumer awareness of the subtle cultural, environmental and social values that lie behind the production of these wonderful products. We look forward to a lasting partnership with Slow in this long-term campaign.’

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