05 March 2019, 14:11 PM
Scottish Cheesemakers Launch Legal Action Crowdfunding Campaign

Five Scottish cheesemakers are close to hitting their target of £15,000 after banding together to launch a crowdjustice campaign. The aim of the campaign is to raise the initial funds to pay for legal fees for the preparation and submission of a judicial review into the legality of new Guidance for the regulation of Scotland’s raw milk cheese production.

The businesses - Errington Cheese, Isle of Mull Cheese, Galloway Farmhouse Cheese, Cambus O’May Cheese Co. and Finlay’s Farm Ltd – all specialise in the production of traditional, artisan raw milk cheese.

The businesses believe that the Guidance as written at present ‘does not reflect, and is contrary to, agreed EU industry guidance and established best practice’ and they are concerned that it will ‘effectively make raw milk cheese production in Scotland unviable’.

The Guidance was published on 21st December 2018. The businesses have written to Food Standards Scotland to request a suspension of the new Guidance to enable changes to be made, however to date this request has been refused. The businesses have a fixed three month window within which to initiate a judicial review, with that window closing on 21st March 2019.

Selina Cairns of Errington Cheese, said: “We can’t wait any longer. The risk of not taking this action is that Scotland’s artisan unpasteurised cheesemakers will be effectively shut down, while unpasteurised cheese produced elsewhere, with less stringent regulation, will still be sold in Scotland. This will put a number of long standing businesses at high risk of closure. To effectively remove specialist cheesemaking from Scotland would be an act of extraordinary self-harm to Scotland’s food heritage and to our nation’s growing reputation as a land of food and drink.”

The crowdjustice campaign was launched at 9am on 26th February and at the time of publishing the figure raised so far is over £14,000 and can be viewed at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-farmhouse-cheese-producti/