The Sheep’s Milk Cheese Controversy: A Bulgarian Food Safety Dilemma
Unveiling the Cheese Dispute
Recently, a meeting between the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) and the Association for Accessible and Quality Food highlighted a dispute over a study on 10 types of cheese. The study sparked a controversy by revealing that only one of the cheeses was made from sheep’s milk, contrary to what was claimed by the producers. However, the BFSA Director, Dr. Svetlozar Patarinski, challenged the study’s results, stating that the findings could not serve as grounds for actions against dairy product manufacturers that showed deviations.
The Methodology Controversy
The crux of the dispute lies in the laboratory analysis method used in the study. While the method was accredited, it did not meet the method accepted across the European Union (EU) under the Implementing Regulation 2018/150. This regulation stipulates the methods for the analysis and evaluation of milk and dairy products’ quality. The BFSA Director expressed that due to this discrepancy, the study’s results could not be used to penalize manufacturers.
The Path Forward: New Samplings and Analysis
Despite the conflict over the study’s results, the BFSA decided to take a proactive approach to address the issue. Dr. Patarinski announced that to verify the study’s findings, the BFSA would carry out new samplings from the same batches that were initially examined. These samples would then be analyzed using the prescribed method under EU law. This move aims to ensure fairness and accuracy in determining the real composition of the cheeses.
Ensuring Compliance with Regulations
As part of its commitment to food safety and quality, the BFSA pledged to provide expert advice on complying with national law and EU regulations. It offered to assist when taking samples at the association’s initiative and determining the precise methods for their analysis. The ultimate goal is to implement comprehensive control over production and, primarily, protect consumers’ interests.
Not Just Safety, But Quality Too
Dr. Galya Vikova, the Deputy Executive Director of the BFSA, emphasized the agency’s role in ensuring not only the safety but also the quality of food during official controls. However, she stressed the importance of strict adherence to control rules, as only then can measures and sanctions be applied when irregularities are found.
Possibility of Joint Checks
The meeting also opened the door for potential joint checks in the future. It was seen as an opportunity for the BFSA and the Association for Accessible and Quality Food to work together towards their common goal – the protection of consumers. As Dr. Svetlozar Patarinski concluded, “The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency and the association are working in the same direction – the protection of consumers.”
The cheese study controversy sheds light on the importance of rigorous and accurate methods in food testing. It also underscores the crucial role of food safety agencies in maintaining the integrity of the food market and protecting consumer interests. As the BFSA takes steps to resolve the dispute, it sets an example of proactive and comprehensive control that other food safety agencies can follow.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.