| Ellen G. White Estate

Is it OK for us to eat cheese?

This is a matter for people to decide for themselves individually. Many years ago, Arthur L. White wrote the following in a reply to someone who had asked some questions on this point:

In the note appearing in Counsels on Diet and Foods, it was the opinion of the compilers that “ripened cheese” embodies cheeses other than the simple articles such as cottage cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese, et cetera. Sister White was speaking of the ordinary cheese at the time. . . .

You have asked concerning the pasteurized cheeses. Pasteurization was not practiced in the time Ellen White was writing. Undoubtedly pasteurization greatly reduces the objectionable features of the cheese. I know of many careful Seventh-day Adventists who feel free to use the pasteurized cheese moderately; in fact, cheese helps to furnish a part of the protein which can well benefit the diet of one who uses no flesh food. However, at the time Ellen White wrote dairy herds were not tested; milk was not pasteurized; refrigeration was practically unknown; and transportation was slow. This gave the finest opportunity for bacteria to develop in the cheese.

The problems of that time seem to have made many cheeses an acute—as distinguished from long term—threat to health. That is, if the cheese was infected with unhealthful bacteria, one would become sick quite soon after eating it. Today, one does not hear of this kind of problem very much with cheese. Those arguing against cheese today often base their prohibitions on long-term threats such as cholesterol, or concerns—such as allergies—that affect only a relatively small part of the population. Though such reasons have validity, they do not seem to me to be the same thing Mrs. White was concerned about.

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