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Roquefort and Camembert Cheeses Risks 'Extinction'

Source: The DairyNews
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A scientific study warns that classic French cheeses, Roquefort and Camembert, face the risk of 'extinction' due to increased standardisation in production norms.
Roquefort and Camembert Cheeses Risks 'Extinction'
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The Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) reported that the food and farming industry, including AOC standards, is putting excessive pressure on the production of these cheeses. The study highlights the monopolistic control of giant manufacturers, reducing the diversity of microorganisms in the fungi used for maturation due to the standardisation of production.

The CNRS notes that Roquefort, the first cheese awarded the AOC label in 1925, is now predominantly produced by a few large manufacturers, affecting the microbial diversity. Similarly, the bacteria strain used for Camembert is reportedly close to extinction due to historical preferences for albino P. camemberti. The study suggests that unless consumers appreciate the diversity of tastes, colors, and textures, especially within the same product, these iconic cheeses may face a bleak future.

In response, the CNRS research team is exploring plans to provide producers with slightly modified strains through genome editing to preserve diversity. The study emphasizes the need for consumers to embrace diversity for the continued enjoyment of these traditional cheeses.

In 2022, Roquefort sales dropped by 6% year-on-year, according to a study by l’Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité.
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