Camembert: after the battle of Normandy, the war on raw milk

Camembert: après la bataille de Normandie, la guerre du lait cru

A year after believed out of a conflict of label very French between the pie charts “of Normandy” and those “made in Normandy”, the national Institute of appellations of origin is seen accused by advocates of raw milk to “scuttle the calendos”.

On Wednesday, the deputy of the Loiret Richard Ramos (Modem) has distributed a cheese normand to each of his colleagues. The smell penetrated into the chamber. The aim of the operation: raise the media to the defence of a “national emblem”, and behind him, the 468 French products under appellation of origin.

In the beginning of the week, the member has signed, with the president of the association Fromages de Terroir Veronique Richez-Lerouge, a forum entitled “in 2021, the death of the camembert AOP” in Release.

They challenge the agreement reached last year to end the war between for over 15 years, the camembert normand historic canal (“Normandy”, raw milk, moulded with the ladle) which is protected by the protected Designation of origin, and his avatar industrial (“made in Normandy”, to pasteurized milk) without specifications and without the precious label recognized in international trade agreements.

Result of the compromise, from 2021 onwards, all PDO “of Normandy” will be in the pasteurized milk. In exchange, its conditions of production are stricter: it must contain at least 30% of milk of norman cows fed predominantly grass in an area covering the Manche, the Orne, the Calvados, and a portion of the Eure.

This solution provides a support welcome to the terroir normand and his breeders, but it is considered unacceptable by the protesters: France “begins to shut down our famous calendos by opening the specification to pasteurization (…) by allowing a machin plâtreux without taste to display the label in the same way as the true segments” according to them.

A signal that they deem to be “alarming” for the thousand of PDO products european linked to ancestral savoir-faire and terroir. “If this revision was accepted, it would be time to ask the question of the real utility of this State body (INAO) which costs around 25 million per year,” they write.

– Place the “real” camembert de Normandie –

Already in may 2018, the michelin star chefs from Olivier Roellinger and Anne-Sophie Pic had mobilized to defend the “claquos” raw milk, blaming as a victory for the food industry the agreement of February 21, 2018.

“It is the contrary,” replied the director of the INAO, Mary Guittard. “The legal protection of the PDO was weakened, and the pie +Normandie+ was sentenced to term if we had done nothing,” she said to the AFP.

In fact, the PDO historic canal represents less than 10% of the production of normandy camembert: 5,000 tons per year, compared to 60,000 or so.

“The agreement has allowed it to take the whole industry up” and improve the readability of the consumer, ” adds Jean-Louis Piton, president of the permanent council of the INAO.

“The PDO is not the Trojan horse of industrial and, no, the production of pie charts from raw milk is not in danger,” has also assured the minister, Didier Guillaume Wednesday.

To save the raw milk, the solution is the creation of “a new PDO even more demanding, which will be called +true camembert de Normandie+ and would “have to call raw milk” and an even higher proportion of norman cows, he added. The specification is discussed currently in the pipeline.

Opponents fear that allowing even within a single appellation “the original and the copy,” the government does not open the “Pandora’s box”: And if the brie de Meaux or the county also claimed “two levels of quality to boost their market share”?

“No question,” responds Jean-Louis Piton. The case of the camembert was a case “exceptional”, because the “made in Normandy” which existed before the creation of the PDO in 1983, had never really taken off. “We will never accept this approach to other AOP”, he warns.

With the clarification of the label, the bet is now that the +true+ increases, its volume, if the foodies are buying it. The bet has already been won by other PDO cheese where coexist pasteurized milk and raw, like the Saint-Nectaire by example, ” said Mr. Piton.