The Latest Mexican Threat to the American Way of Life: Cheese

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Puzzled U.S. border police arrested a Mexican smuggler with 88 pounds (40-kg) of cheese hidden in a special compartment in his truck, police said on Friday….

Officers regularly impound drugs including marijuana, heroin and cocaine at border crossings from Mexico, although Maier said the smuggled cheese haul was unusual.

"It looks like it was destined for people who wanted a taste of the old country," he added.

Whole story–and a terrifying 2003 tale of smuggled bologna–here.

Here's hoping the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps can straighten out their dubious finances in time to ward off this newest threat from south of the border.

And while we're waiting for that to happen, grab a bag of chips and some chile con queso and dig into Reason's special immigration section in our Aug-Sept ish, which we've put online right here.

NEXT: Cigarettes and alcohol worse than ecstasy, LSD and cannabis

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  1. The Minutemen’s management outfit is called “American Caging Inc.” No further comment.

  2. When will the president finally select a suitable Cheese Czar and give the War on Cheese the attention that it deserves? Think about the Children!

  3. Blessed are the cheesemakers.

  4. Why does the Border Patrol hate Packer fans?

  5. Pi,

    There actually is a small but lucrative black market in unpasturized cheese. The are illegal in America but a lot of the best European cheeses are unpasturized. We clearly need to start locking up foodies before they get our children hooked unsafe brie.

  6. War on Cheese… Think about the Children!

    This made me (partly) remember a standup comic who does a song titled “Wood, Cheese and Children”.

    Well, thanks Wikipedia, that’s the guy.

  7. If we don’t stop the cheese smugglers it will then be okay for tortilla smugglers and then salsa and habenaro smugglers. Wait–that sounds good. Mmmmm Mexican food for lunch : )

  8. You guys are making me wish the Mexican restaurant near where I work had good food and service that wouldn’t keep me there for 2 hours for lunch.

    I just want a nice relleno, dammit.

  9. It is obvious you guys don’t care about me and my family.

    Colby Sharpe
    US Cheese Producer’s Union
    Local #7042

  10. Everbody knows it’s hard to tell cheese from drugs. The driver was probably afraid someone would kill him for his tasty, tasty cargo.

  11. There’s an old joke about cops stealing cheese with the punchline “‘cuz when I took he kept saying “nacho cheese!”

  12. matthew hogan:

    American Caging has nothing to do with the managing of the Minutemen, just in case you wanted to know.

  13. http://www.itds.treas.gov/specimpreq.html#1
    1. Cheese, Milk, and Dairy Products. Cheese and cheese products are subject to the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. Most importations of cheese require an import license and are subject to quotas administered by the Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Washington, D.C. 20250.

    Here’s one reason why:
    http://www.fda.gov/ora/fiars/ora_import_ia1210.html
    (List of a few dozen Mexican companies producing cheese contaminated with salmonella, e. coli, etc.] From 2004, but probably the same now.

    American Caging has nothing to do with the managing of the Minutemen, just in case you wanted to know.
    Now do the Minute Men have anything at all to do with this smuggling case, despite Gillespie’s feeble attempt to associate them with it.

  14. There actually is a small but lucrative black market in unpasturized cheese. The are illegal in America but a lot of the best European cheeses are unpasturized.

    Actually, no. From FDA.gov:

    “…cheese standards allow the use of unpasteurized milk provided the cheese is aged at not less than 35oF for 60 days (longer for some cheese)…”

  15. Blessed are the cheesemakers.

  16. If the brown people bring in only white cheeses would that be okay with Mr Lemur?

  17. Mr. F. Le Mur:
    I’m guessing that American cheeses are not subject to “quotas” based on fear.
    USA bad cheese

    I, as many Americans, am against importing any more fumunda cheese, as I already have too much.

    Back to the topic: American Caging absolutely has something to do with the Minutemen, e.g., managing the donation box, but in reality, those sad, angry men are accomplishing very little. Perhaps my estimation of them would have risen if they would have busted the cheese smuggler. Face it Mr. Lemur, drugs and terror are a main talking point for the right when it comes to immigration issues. It’s at least fair game to point out that their terror cells and drug mules are sometimes cheese runners.

  18. Cheese, Milk, and Dairy Products. Cheese and cheese products are subject to the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. Most importations of cheese require an import license and are subject to quotas…
    List of a few dozen Mexican companies producing cheese contaminated with salmonella, e. coli, etc

    How, again, would a “quota” protect us from infectious disease?

  19. Now they’ve done it. I have spent a ridiculous amount of money before ordering cheese from France because it is so much better than ours. Now they tempt me by confiscating Mexican cheese? Oy, I gots to have me some of that banned cheese! The more they try to keep it away from me the more my desire grows.

    We need more cheese!
    Cheese is what we really need!

    EVERYBODY!

    WE NEED MORE CHEESE!
    CHEESE IS WHAT WE REALLY NEED!

  20. I’m guessing that some folks here have never heard about Montezuma’s Revenge, which is on the wane, but you still better not drink the water or eat the strawberries. Unless, of course, they’re in a yummy margarita where the te-kill-ya can kill the bugs.

    Timothy, the US allows exactly zero imported sausages. This isn’t because LeMur is (and America) is prejudiced against the brown people of Italy and the beer swilling Germans.

    That doesn’t mean I agree with the policy but the policy is in place for a reason. And you know what Ambrose Bierce said about sausages. Okay, maybe it was someone else but you know the drill.

  21. I did not know that we allowed zero importation of sausages. That’s nice, no wonder it’s virtually impossible to get a decent summer sausage outside of Minnesota. You’d think you could find a place in the hill country outside of San Antonio that made one, but I haven’t been able to yet.

  22. Timothy, looks like I’m wrong. Apparently there are some imported sausages on the market. It was my understanding that the US didn’t allow any at all because it was too difficult to manage the health risks of contaminated sausages. Oh well, into each life a little rain must fall.

  23. “Now (sic) do the Minute Men have anything at all to do with this smuggling case, despite Gillespie’s feeble attempt to associate them with it.”

    Main Entry: 1joke
    Pronunciation: ‘jOk
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Latin jocus; perhaps akin to Old High German gehan to say, Sanskrit yAcati he asks
    1 a : something said or done to provoke laughter; especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist b (1) : the humorous or ridiculous element in something (2) : an instance of jesting : KIDDING c : PRACTICAL JOKE d : LAUGHINGSTOCK
    2 : something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter — often used in negative constructions

  24. I googled imported sausage and saw this in one of the results:

    “Imported sausage has been known to create death after lying …”

    It’s no wonder we don’t allow it in the country.

  25. You’d think you could find a place in the hill country outside of San Antonio

    New Braunfels isn’t a hotbed of sausage-making any more? Damn.

  26. “There actually is a small but lucrative black market in unpasturized cheese. The are illegal in America but a lot of the best European cheeses are unpasturized.”

    Actually, no. From FDA.gov:

    “…cheese standards allow the use of unpasteurized milk provided the cheese is aged at not less than 35oF for 60 days (longer for some cheese)…” Emphasis added.

    Umm, big caveat your “actually no”. While it is true that aged cheeses which age longer than 60 days are allowed to be sold unpasturized, that does not include a number of varieties. Unpasturized brie and camembert, for example, are banned, because these are ‘young cheeses’ which are sold at around 30 days. These cheeses are available from unpasteurized milk in Europe, but not America.

  27. Hi #, I saw that too, man that’s a nasty visual.

    I was told by a guy who owns a meat market that imported sausages are banned. But I see today, on the menu of my second favorite Cuban restaurant, a meanu item that claims to be made from imported sausages.

    Hmmm, wonder if maybe the ban only applies to fresh sausages and not to cured sausages.

    I wasted some time on Google with this, but that don’t pay the electric bill. Maybe I’ll ask Mrs TWC, she’s much better (quicker) than I am at getting answers out of google.

  28. TWC,

    From the Customs Dept:

    “Meat and Animal Products and Byproducts
    Fresh, dried, or canned meats and meat byproducts are prohibited entry into the United States from most foreign countries because of the continuing threat of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), and other animal diseases. If meat from restricted countries is used in preparing a product (e.g., beef broth), the product is usually prohibited.”

    Those are the guidelines for lowly citizens.
    After further research, it appears that if you are willing to pay enough money to the feds, you can get a permit to import anything commercially.

  29. And the bovine tuberculosis bacillus, Mycobacterium bovis. I’m still getting the occassional case in NY from imported (‘curriers” and some illegally sold) queso fresco (unpasteurized, ‘farmers cheese’, unaged). Infected a number of kids in the last few years (and a couple of their parents). A few people have died.

    Frankly, M. bovis is *such* a problem in Mexico I wouldn’t go near any cheese, aged or not, from there.

  30. Now I’m curious: what’s the penalty for smuggling cheese (or sausages) across the border? And if there’s such a demand for queso fresco, why can’t an enterprising dairy in New York improvise a reasonable facsimile of it, complete with authentic-looking Spanish-language packaging?

  31. Re: mediageek

    Yep…the Minutemen are a goddam joke all right…

  32. smuggle drugs is a windfall,but is guilty,everyone should avoid and improve self-discipline

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