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Then they came for the squeaky fresh cheese curds

Then they came for the squeaky fresh cheese curds

Because people remained silent when they came for the Roquefort

If the FDA’s overreach into cheese doesn’t compel you to grab your pitchfork and take to the streets, nothing will. Last week, we wrote about the FDA’s French cheese tyranny. Looks like the situation is only becoming more dire.

According to The Gazette, a cheese factory that specializes in cheese curds is shutting down. They’re not being shut down for a specific health violation or anything like that — they make good cheese. They’re closing up shot because compliance with new federal regulations will require more cash than they have to spend:

“From advanced food safety and quality assurance requirements to more stringent environmental regulations that would require substantial capital investment,” said Gary Weihs, president of Proliant Dairy Ingredients, in a news release. “As a result of the changing environment, we have decided to close the Kalona facility. This is a difficult decision and we will continue to explore other opportunities for the facility.”

The facility employed 50 people. Impacted employees will receive compensation, severance pay and job placement assistance, the release said.

John Roetlin wouldn’t comment on the factory’s fate.

“It is what it is,” Roetlin said when contacted Thursday. He added the Kalona Cheese House, the factory’s store, will remain open despite the factory’s closure.

A group of Amish and Mennonite farmers established the operation as co-op in 1946, according to the website. The farmers hired Swiss immigrant John Roetlin, Sr. to run the factory, which opened in 1947.

This isn’t just about cheese, it’s about a community who will now be forced to find other ways to make memories.

When Kathy Scheuerman first heard the factory might close, her heart sank. The Iowa City resident has long family connection to the facility where her grandmother, mother and sister worked. The 62-year-old remembers as a child visiting her grandma and watching her slice up cheese at the factory.

The Kalona factory processed more than 1.2 million pounds of milk per day to make white cheddar cheese, according to Proliant’s website.

When news of the factory’s demise spread, devoted fans flocked to social media to express their sadness. Iowa City resident Katy Brown created a “Save the Kalona Cheese Factory” Facebook page in solidarity. The page had more than 2,000 likes by Thursday afternoon. Posts promoted the hashtag: “Save the Squeak.”

“I’m so sad about this,” said one Facebook commenter. “I’m seriously going to cry. These curds have been present at very single family get together that I can remember.”

The cheese factory and store wasn’t just a business but a fixture in the community and a unique attraction, Scheuerman said. The factory’s location along Highway 1 meant travelers — both regulars and new visitors — could hop out of their car and grab some cheese.

“It was an integral part of the Kalona community,” she said. “It was something special for all of the people who lived there whether they were Amish, Mennonite or not.”

Denise Easley of Cedar Rapids said she was saddened by the factory’s potential closure and the loss of the locally made cheese curds. Easley said she’d recently been to the store and noticed the curds for sale were from an outside distributor and not the Kalona facility.

This is just another heartbreaking story of a community staple and family favorite suffering at the hands of an out of control bureaucracy that we pay to “help” us. Soon, we’ll be relegated to those nasty dye-ridden, individually wrapped cheese products. Obama’s America everyone… Obama’s America. 

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The FDA, EPA, and other federal regulatory agencies have clearly been staffed at the top to pursue the progressive agenda using regulatory powers against targeted political enemies. So, when you see something like this, it is usually pretty easy to see the political angle behind the regulation(s), and sometimes that angle had been openly announced or promised, like when Obama gleefully promised to shut down coal burning power plants and the coal industry in general.

I’m not seeing the suspected plan behind the plan on this one. Have I missed it, or perhaps this is one part of a larger whole and not yet enough to show their hand? Why would they mess with a small time cheese producer? Just to strut for the benefit of other small time industries, a display of power?

Sharpen up the pitchforks, people. These assholes are out of control.

    “Why would they mess with a small time cheese producer?”
    1. Because they can.
    2. Because it’s fun.
    3. To demonstrate their power.
    4. To create fear.
    5. To help big corporate cheese makers by destroying competitors that cannot be beaten through free competition.

    Oh Henry (sounds like the title of a book), you just don’t get it. If overseeing curdled milk isn’t a valid function of government, I don’t know what is. Next thing you know uninformed people are going to start putting sautéed fungus on their perfectly good 190 degree steaks and who knows where that will lead.

    If we aren’t careful people will mix yeast in with their bread dough because they like yeast farts and think it gives the bread a nice texture. People need to be informed and controlled for their own good. Can you imagine anything more discussing that consuming a liquid that fish use for sex?

    You should be grateful there are people who have dedicated their lives to making your world a little safer and your life a little happier.

    frankfromtexas in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    “pst314” pretty much nailed it. Rules like this have nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with power, control, and protection of big incumbents.

    I knew a farmer in Massachusetts years ago that tried to move up the value chain, as the bulk producers such as “Agrimark” had so much influence that the folks actually making the milk couldn’t make a living. He invested in the equipment to make yogurt, and just around the time he was ready to go to market, the Feds came out with a new rule having to do with that tin foil sheet that now goes on the top of a tub of yogurt before the lid goes on.

    He priced the new equipment he’d have to buy, and just said the hell with it and declared bankruptcy.

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

In that case the government can create a new program to solve the problem they created. More bureaucrats, more rules, more taxes. Isn’t that wonderful?

Of course, large cheese manufactures were fully in support of this, knowing it would drive small competitors out of the market.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Sanddog. | September 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

    That’s the kind of thing I was looking for, the plan behind the plan. Maybe it was the unions involved with the big time cheese industry who wish to eliminate non-union cheese plants and are using their friends in the federal government to do it.

Sorry but this isn’t just an Obama thing. These agencies (not just FDA) have been growing for decades through Democrat and Republican administrations alike. Maybe they grow faster under democrats but its not like the republicans have made any noticeable effort to cut them back.

    platypus in reply to irv. | September 15, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    That’s because the GOP isn’t conservative. Yet.

    The tea parties are working like termites to crumble the current GOP structure so it can be replaced.

There are names associated with these actions, human names, not “The FDA.” The names are part of the news.

Find the names, and you will find the uneducable idiot.

“He added the Kalona Cheese House, the factory’s store, will remain open despite the factory’s closure.”

They should turn the cheese factory (creamery, really) into a museum for when Americans were allowed to do stuff. Like feed and clothe ourselves and others.

Plus an ass-a-torium, where you can clean up and kiss your ass good-bye.

The article is incorrect, specifically: “The facility employed 50 people.”

If they’re processing 1.2 million pounds of milk daily, there’s a lot of dairy farmers who will be out of business soon. An average cow produces 6.5 gallons of milk which weighs 8.6 lbs, approximately 56 lbs per day.

1.5 million lbs of milk is 26833 cows. Average herd size is 135, that’s almost 200 farms.

    platypus in reply to mpodes. | September 15, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I’m not trying to be contrary but wouldn’t that milk simply be sold to the local milk co-operative? I cannot see how it would be any other way. Of course the price received would not be the same but at least it would be sold.

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to mpodes. | September 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Perhaps this is part of saving America from the scourge of cow flatulence.

    If you haven’t eaten a squeaky cheese curd, you haven’t lived.

    pst314 in reply to mpodes. | September 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    The dairy farmers will presumably not be hurt much: All the folks who used to buy the tasty local cheese will instead be forced to get used to more ordinary, bland mass-produced cheese. The farmers will sell to Deans and Kraft instead of to Proliant.
    Kraft Foods cannot compete on equal terms because its entire business model is built on making lots of identical, standarized, tailored-to-a-mass-audience food. The most they can manage to do is make both sharp cheddar and mild cheddar. The variety of all these local producers is beyond them.
    But Kraft can do something else: They can work with government regulators to put their competitors out of business, or if that fails to regulate them into becoming just as bland and ordinary as Kraft…and then Kraft can beat them on the efficiencies of mass production.
    Cronyism: It thrives when Progressives are in power.
    Mussolini would be proud.

      ss396 in reply to pst314. | September 16, 2014 at 10:15 am

      I expect that a goodly number of these nanny-staters are self-declared ‘lactose intolerant.’ In true progressive fashion, they will project their intolerance onto everybody else, assume everyone else must be lactose intolerant, and must be protected from lactose. Oh yeah, the dairy farmers will get their turn, too.

      Since these are Federal Regulations, inaugurated at the behest of the Federal Executive (the President) how much of this meddlesome nose-picking can be undone by Executive Order?

There are lots of “foodies” in certain regions who rhapsodize about the small, local producers who make artisanal cheese or sell heirloom vegetables at farmers’ markets or raise a special kind of extra-tasty pig. (I actually met a guy who does that.) The foodies also tend to be leftish and thus in favor if a highly intrusive bureaucratic state — except when Big Government steps on their own artisanal toes.

A ban on the production of foie gras evoked the phrase “nanny state” from a radio food-show host who generally avoids overt politics but undoubtedly leans left. I was surprised to hear it, and I somehow don’t think he’s opposed to the nanny state per se.

Left-leaning people seem to believe that annoying or harmful government intrusions into their own livelihoods or pastimes are a matter of conservative authoritarianism. Seldom will they think to blame the “progressive” utopianism they want the government to impose on everyone else.

This is a tragedy. I buy cheese curds from the Kalona Cheese factory several times a year. It’s a wonderful place to visit. You can watch through huge windows as the cheese is made. The fresh curds are the best anywhere.

Damn these people in Washington!

Maybe this is just like the Gibson Guitar attack – the owners voted wrong.

Obama administration is spiteful, vengeful, hateful and racist and utterly ruthless.

Typical leftists.

Where’s the First Lady – Mrs. “Lean Steak and Organic Arugula” herself – during all of this?

Is she so busy pushing healthy and organic foods (while chowing on fried chicken off-camera) that she’s unaware of this latest loss of a source of good, wholesome cheese? Does she want American children to be forced to ingest the bland, artificially colored, fat- and chemical-ridden crap that is “processed cheese product”, simply for lack of any alternatives?

The next logical step for the FDA is to demand sashimi to be thoroughly cooked.

Liberals are never bothered by cognitive dissonance or hypocrisy. Theirs is a post-modern world where everything is relative.

Unregulated cheese is dangerous to public health, so the government had to do something. We can now rest easy, knowing that those 3000 troops going to fight Ebola won’t carry any cheese back to the States.

Next up, federal regulations on pencils, which are deceptively sharp on one end but not the other, necessitating federal involvement.

There are various comments here that are simply not true…. When the term ‘curdled milk’ was mentioned this does not mean bad or in any way spoiled milk…when the cheese making process begins, rennet is added to milk to caused it to form curds- much like gelatin for example- the milk sorta takes on a soft ‘tofu’ like look and feel….these is where the wonderful cheese curds come from. This plant was NOT Unregulated. It is listed under USDA grading service Plant # 19-107.
The farmers in the area that marketed their milk production to Kalona will not likely ‘suffer’ and go out of business….its 40 miles from Cedar rapids and 80 miles to Wapsie Valley Creamery who would be all too happy to begin buying that milk!
I’m not in any way defending FDA or federal regulators….It was a business decision by Proliant…they deserve some blame on top of the increase in perhaps fairly new environmental regulations