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Then they came for the Roquefort

Then they came for the Roquefort

The FDA is coming after your French cheese

Is there anything the government doesn’t ruin?

I had the pleasure of living in France for some time. While there, I gained an appreciation for their amazing array of cheeses. So vast is their cheese spread that Charles de Gaulle is famously quoted as saying, “Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cent quarante-six variétés de fromage?” (“How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?”). But I digress.

According to The Week, the FDA is out to regulate away our freedom to partake in French cheese:

New FDA restrictions on the levels of harmless bacteria found in imported cheese have effectively banned a number of artisan French cheeses, including Roquefort, Morbier, and Tomme de Savoie. The restricted bacteria already exist in the human stomach, and the banned cheeses have not changed their recipes for years.

While the restriction is already affecting imports, domestic cheese producers are under the FDA gun, too. Raw milk cheesemakers may be put out of business over a change they say is capricious at best. “There was no health risk in all the years we operated” under the old regulations, says David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery in Oregon, “We look at this as an arbitrary change.”

Still not concerned? What if I told you they were coming after your Parmigiano Reggiano? According to Overlawyered

The new rules have resulted in holds even on super-safe Parmigiano Reggiano, and the risk of losing a costly shipment of a perishable commodity is likely to be enough to drive many European producers out of the market for export to America entirely. Highly praised artisanal cheese makers in the United States are facing shutdown as well.

They told us this administration was going to be run by wine and cheese faculty liberals. Now where are they when they could actually do us some good?

Zing! But this particular FDA overreach is not just a freedom of gruyere issue, it may have reaching health implications as well. Cary Bryant, microbiologist and cheesemaker, told The Week that the new restrictions could be detrimental to public health:

“People need some microbial diversity in their life. This is going to create people with immune systems that can never handle anything.” In addition to no microbial diversity, if the FDA persists in this measure, we may simply have no cheese: Even aged parmesan — which is about as safe as cheese can be — has come under scrutiny thanks to the ban.”

It’s a sad state of affairs when we’re deprived of our right to cheese. Excuse me while I go toss this chunk of Roquefort into the Gulf in protest.

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The FDA already tried, and failed, to stop artisanal cheese-makers from using wooden shelves to cure cheese.

When I first heard of that rule, I knew it was bad policy, because I had heard the results of some testing from biologists on cutting surfaces: an ordinary, wooden cutting board is safer than any antimicrobial plastic cutting board. That is because the wood will absorb and re-direct water, which is generally essential to microbial growth. A plastic board, even an antimicrobial plastic board, is not porous, and allows water to pool in scratches on the surface.

Artisans were already using the safest material as a curing surface for cheeses, before the FDA tried to get them to change.

I suspect there is a person with a nontechnical background at the FDA, who does not learn easily. Identify that person, and you can put a stop to these stupid, perverse rules.

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to Valerie. | September 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I’d say that the non-technical folks who fail to learn easily within the government are legion…starting right at the top.

    ConradCA in reply to Valerie. | September 9, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    The problem with the FDA is that those in charge are too lazy to do their jobs. They would rather just pass a regulations then determine if there is any benefit to them.

    ThomasD in reply to Valerie. | September 14, 2014 at 9:09 am

    This isn’t being done because someone is a misguided do-gooder, this is another example of regulatory capture.

    The food conglomerates like Kraft are behind this. They want to drive out the competition from imports, and small batch makers, then replace them with their own lines of faux ‘artisan’ products.

DINORightMarie | September 9, 2014 at 7:32 am

I read this over the weekend. Like the EPA, the FDA is over-reaching, regulating every minute detail of our lives (with a hefty assist by both Michelle-0’s “Food Nazi” Act and ObamaCare).

Get the federal government OUT of my life!!! The answer, IMHO, is to both dismantle the bureaucracy (Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Education, EPA, and FDA for starters), and simultaneously the states need to hold a Convention of the States to Propose Amendments to repeal and restore our Constitutional Republic (see Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments for complete details). 🙂

    Ragspierre in reply to DINORightMarie. | September 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

    In America’s agrarian infancy, I can see why there’d be a Sec. of Ag.

    Not any more. States and the private sector have it covered.

    And the FDA has probably killed or made life miserable for many more Americans than it has “saved”.

    Just stop them. Kill off the regulatory state.

smalltownoklahoman | September 9, 2014 at 7:35 am

Lovely, more Fed overreach designed to take further control over our lives. For our own good of course!

“Government Overreach” is a redundancy. And it is typical of an organization trying to achieve incremental improvements in the “quality” of its services. It’s the 80-20 rule. The first 80% of the work takes 20% of the cost. The phenomenon is most notable in the EPA, where we’ve gone from the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act to insanely expensive efforts to clean up the last 2% of crap.

The problem with the FDA, is that they still do a crappy job of their core mission. Clean up your own kitchen, already!

I suppose yoghurt is next on their hit list – it’s swarming with bacteria ~

The idiots of the EU are doing the same…or worse…in Europe.

They have mandated such sterile production standards that a lot of fermented meats (e.g., sausages) and cheeses simply cannot be produced any longer. The were made for a century or two in a place with exposed wooden beams and plaster walls, homes for the essential micro-organisms that gave foods made in that place its unique flavor, texture or other attributes. Stainless steel and tile just don’t get it.

We were made to live a long life in a germ-infested, radioactive old world. And we learned that microbes can both flavor and preserve our food. We don’t need ninny nannies ordering us around “for our own good”.

Screw THAT…!!!

    nordic_prince in reply to Ragspierre. | September 9, 2014 at 9:16 am

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this overwrought hysteria regarding dirt, bacteria, et al, is one of the reasons why there seems to be so many more kids with allergies these days. They’re being raised like Bubble Boy ~

      Ragspierre in reply to nordic_prince. | September 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

      I think there is something to that thesis. We need our immune systems challenged for them to work well. I had a high school science teacher who held that every American child should eat the equal of two good hands-full of dirt by age four.

      I was probably an overachiever in that department…

    Radegunda in reply to Ragspierre. | September 9, 2014 at 11:24 am

    This summer I visited an old grist mill that’s been revived as a state historical park. They sell little bags of polenta and various kinds of flour, all with “Not for human consumption” labels. They explain that the labels are a legal requirement because the wood surfaces etc. don’t meet code for a food-processing facility, but some pricey local restaurants use their products regularly. The farcical aspect is that the government must certainly know that the visitors who buy that flour and polenta don’t plan to display it on their souvenir shelves.

Between this and all the extreme sanitizing (emphasis on extreme), I guess the aim here is to leave people with no antibodies at all creating a new set of problems!

They’re munsters I tell ya, munsters!

Selling a home now, I’m having to deal with gov’t regulators and bureaucrats via radon and mold inspections, the results of which could cost me a small fortune to correct, if found even in the minutest portion.

Whether cheese microbes, radon, mold, green house gasses, et al, doesn’t it all come down to the arrogant fools (tools) of gov’t attempting to regulate NATURE?

I’m so glad my kids grew up in a developing country where they were able to develop a taste for and eat all the artisanal and imported cheeses they wanted… oh, and develop the resistance they would otherwise not have! There is something to be said for germs!!

It’s “not just a freedom of gruyere issue,” but Gruyere is probably on the hit-list, since it’s traditionally a raw-milk cheese. I’ve been buying mostly the small number of raw-milk cheeses available because the digestive enzymes haven’t been killed off. The FDA is assaulting my health by taking these options away.

TrooperJohnSmith | September 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

Next up? Regulating mothers’ breast milk.

“People need some microbial diversity in their life. This is going to create people with immune systems that can never handle anything.”

And 0bamacare is looming. Just sayin’.

So, Mr. FDA, how many people have gotten sick from the bacteria and/or enzymes in these cheeses, that they contracted by eating these cheeses?


Yeah, I’m not seeing a need for the over-regulation.

Most cheese produced in America these days is as bland and tasteless as Velveeta.

I’m not all that old and I can remember milk when it came only pasteurized so the cream came to the top. Or the cheese was hard,salty yet sweet.

Now it’s all gunk and gooey (the hard cheeses I’m talking about)

They boil and blend everything it’s a wonder there’s any difference between one type and another.

And don’t try to buy the good stuff from a farmer. They’ll have you up against the wall and in court on felony charges these days.

    Ragspierre in reply to jakee308. | September 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    One of the several reasons the BIG GOVERNMENT model HAS to fail is the internet.

    Wire around the nannies. Buy from a foreign devil.

If the cheese is legal in Canada, perhaps the Canadians can buy it, affix the Canadian sku, and import to the US. See Belarus.

I wonder where Kraft’s lobbyists come down on this issue.

“Farmageddon” is available to stream on Netflix. It’s about smaller farms being zealously watched, and shut down in raids.

A quality food supply is a good thing, and FDA science is probably good. But do we really need new standards that shut down operations that have never had a problem in decades?

FLOTUS wants us to eat healthily, but can farmers’ markets really operate under ever stricter FDA standards? The whole “eat organic and eat local” movement would seem to collide with this FDA assault on cheese and other local/fresh operations.

Subotai Bahadur | September 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I find it noteworthy that the regime is more than eager to let Ebola and a host of other deadly diseases into this country, going to the point of erasing the southern border and deliberately distributing disease vectors throughout the country; but they are fixated on FOOD that has been eaten safely for thousands of freaking years.

    Ragspierre in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | September 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    As with “health care” it isn’t about “health care” or even “health insurance” (two very different things, btw).

    It IS about control. Control is what the Collective is all about. They cannot “scientifically govern” a free people.

The FDA is too busy and can’t be bothered with going after the rampantly fraudulent supplement industry but they have time to go after this. Pathetic government at its finest.