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The Life of CheeseCrafting Food and Value in America$
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Heather Paxson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520270176

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520270176.001.0001

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(p.158) 6 Microbiopolitics
The Life of Cheese

Heather Paxson

University of California Press

“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.

Keywords:   Regulation, raw milk, FDA, microbes, microbiopolitics, Pasteur, post-Pasteurian, hygiene, HACCP

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