“Microbiopolitics” takes up the regulatory dimension of food production to explore how growing interest in the manufacture and taste of raw-milk cheese collides with renewed regulatory attention to food safety. While the US Food and Drug Administration views raw-milk cheese as a potential biohazard, riddled with pathogenic microbes, artisans see it as a traditional food processed for safety by the action of beneficial microbes that can outcompete pathogens. Revisiting ecologies of production at a microscopic scale, I develop the concept of microbiopolitics to analyze how farmers, cheesemakers, food microbiologists, safety regulators, retailers, and consumers work variously to reconcile Pasteurian (hygienic) and post-Pasteurian (probiotic) attitudes toward the microbial agents at the heart of raw-milk cheese.
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