Global warming is threatening the traditional production of some of France’s most famed cheeses – from Saint-Nectaire to bleu d’Auvergne – due to increasingly frequent extreme weather affecting how much fresh local grass cows eat.
With the world struggling to take sufficient action to rein in global warming, French producers say it is becoming physically impossible to respect appellation rules on a number of cheeses, which limits the amount of dry hay livestock can consume.
As a result they increasingly are forced to ask French food authorities to bend those strict conditions for them to be allowed to sell their cheeses.
“This year, half of (France’s) dairy AOPs (protected designations of origin) have been hit by drought,” warned Patrick Chassard, had of the national appellation committee.
Among the first to sound the alarm were producers of bleu d’Auvergne, fourme d’Ambert and Montbrison, époisses and laguiole cheeses.
By July this year, the dairy farmers of Livradois-Forez, Auvergne, central France, had not seen rain since the previous September and were forced to dip into their hay stocks to feed their livestock whereas they usually wait until autumn to do so.
Paul Lavialle of the Laguiole appellation, said: “To produce a laguiole appellation, our Aubrac and Simmental cows must remain in the prairies for at least 120 days. In normal years, they stay there for 150 days. In 2019, it will have been 100 on average.”
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