Food Policy

Stop Cutting the Cheese, NY Tells Farmers' Markets


Stinky Cheese Slicing Ban

New York State's Department of Agriculture and Markets has begun enforcing a regulation that effectively prohibits cheese vendors at farmers' markets like New York City's popular Greenmarket from custom-slicing their products for customers, reports Manhattan news site

Under rules now being enforced by the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets, farmers are no longer allowed to slice and wrap their cheese wheels at markets in New York unless they have a license to process food. They can only get that license if they have, for instance, a three-basin sink and hot water heater.


Cheese vendors say that the state will kill off their success at local greenmarkets by subjecting them to similar rules as delis or grocery stores — since it's impossible to get access to the same running water in their temporary stands as delis do at a store.

But even if market cheesemongers can't slice to order, at least customers there can still sample a cheese before they decide how much they want to buy. Oh, well, not really that either.

In addition, unlicensed cheesemongers are supposed to cut cheese samples with a disposable plastic knife, an impossibility with hard cheese, [cheesemonger Jody] Somers said.

"We have cheeses aged over a year," Somers said. "I have to use a double knife to cut them. How do I use a plastic knife?"

Whole stinky cheese tale here. And more here from Grub Street, which posts details under the wish-I-got-there-first headline New Regulations Mean Greenmarket Vendors Can No Longer Cut Their Cheese.

In case you're wondering, the mission of New York's Department of Agriculture and Markets (PDF)

is to foster a more competitive food and agriculture industry in New York State that benefits producers and consumers alike. It conducts programs for advertising, publicity and promotion to expand the demand for New York State food and agricultural products.

New York. Where fostering competition means stifling it, and expanding demand means ensuring suppliers cannot meet it.

Bonus: reports that pub crawls are also under attack in New York City.

Baylen Linnekin is a lawyer and the executive director of Keep Food Legal, a nonprofit that promotes culinary freedom, the idea that people should be free to make and consume whatever commestibles they prefer. For more information and to join or donate, go here now.

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  1. I don’t know how you New Yorkers put up with it. Jesus H. “Nanny State” Christ.

    1. Most New Yorkers just buy cheese at the deli. But it’s still sad and pathetic that some dipshits would go all this way to add another stupid ass law.

      I’ve never been one to respect the law, and I respect it less every day. It’s not hard to find other people who have no respect for the law and just ignore it.

      1. I think this is a side effect that the statists don’t understand. The more stupid and overbearing laws they oh on the books, the less people care about laws or whether they’re breaking one.

        1. I would have hoped the “effects don’t matter, only intent” school of thought would have died along with the Soviet Union, but, alas.

          1. If it gets to the point where the Nanny States start talking about five year plans, it may be time for Jefferson’s reset button.

  2. What the hell?

    1. This has got to be a snope or meme or whatever word they have now for Internet spoofs…

  3. Almanian beat me to it. I don’t know how people consider NY to be habitable.

    1. The whole reason government has been able to get so large and so intrusive there is that NYC has a lot going for it, in terms of culture, activity, convenience, etc.: those things evidently outweigh the government-related annoyance its residents have to put up with, because many more people want to live there than can afford to.

      1. NYC has a lot going for it


        Oh, wait, I’m forgetting about the Hipsters and Douchitarians. Yes, it has a lot going for it for them…

        1. I thought they were doucheoisie?

        2. Your preferences are not universal. This is the core of libertarianism: “There’s no accounting for taste.”

  4. New York = Epic Stupid

    1. Almanian beat me to it. I don’t know how people consider NY to be habitable.
      @ I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to
      our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a
      46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get
      all this stuff,

      1. kurzweil was correct, there will be a singularity, but it won’t be humans participating.

  5. This is how the government creates jobs and stimulates the economy.
    By making it more difficult for people to work and make money, jobs are created and the economy is stimulated.
    We need more laws like this to promote jobs and the creation of wealth.

    1. But they’re saving grocery store jobs. Or grocery store revenue. Or something.

      1. Big Deli strikes again.

    2. This new math – how the fuck does it work?

      1. It’s great, you just kinda slap together some numbers and some of those symbol thingies, and then you guess at the result. Good times.

  6. Terrance and Phillip are gonna cancel their trip to the big apple.

    1. Son of a BITCH!

  7. Without ag bureaucrats, we’d all be dead!

  8. What, you want cheesemongers wiping their knives on their aprons like some Civil War surgeon? Imagine the diseases that would spread? Can’t you think of the childrunz?

    1. Yeah, it’s the re-education camp for you when I take over!

      1. But are they allowed to have bazouki players performing in their stores?

        1. That’s for Lord Ilpalazo to decide!

          I will say that they better get used to serving dog…

        2. Have you go–SHUT THAT BLOODY BOUZOUKI UP!

  9. One problem is that many people can see the unreasonability of this application of the law, but cannot make the further step to see the unreasonability of the law itself.

    So we end up in a sort of mushy no-man’s land where people leave the laws and regulations on the books, but try to carve out mealy-mouthed exceptions, or count on regulators to demonstrate “common sense” and selectively apply the law.

    People suck.

    1. count on regulators to demonstrate “common sense”

      Ha! That’s hilarious!
      People seek out the job of regulator precisely because they have no “common sense”, but do have a desire to have power over others.

    2. If I’m a deli owner, and there’s one of these vendors selling cheese for less than I do, well there’s an 800 number I call if I see him slicing his cheese and the gubmit will fine his ass. Ha!

    3. Angels in the form of kings to govern.

    4. “people suck”

      That made me shoot active Mountain Dew out my nose. Well done, Fluffy.

  10. Nanny-statism should the weapon of choice in reversing this law: citizens cannot be trusted to slice their own cheese. Aside from the risk of injury, most people will slice far too thickly. Only trained professionals should be allowed to determine a reasonable quantity of cheese.

    1. They’ll probably just outlaw cheese, and then only outlaws will have cheese.

      1. And yet it is still legal to let people eat spray cheese…

        1. …and let’s not forget Velveeta?. Sweet, soft, emphatically-not-found-in-nature Velveeta?.


      2. No they’ll outlaw cutting the cheese, then only outlaws will cut the cheese.

  11. So, how many people have dropped dead? I’ve found that many of these licensing requirements are less about protecting consumers and more about generating revenue. Licensed vendors are easier to keep track of to make sure they are paying/collecting taxes. Also, the associated fines with non-compliance generate revenue.

    1. If it’s any consolation – and it isn’t, much – this will probably almost never be enforced. They recently banned smoking in city parks, and yet despite the fact that that’s pretty straightforward and easy to see, virtually no one has been ticketed. I doubt cops are going to give much of a crap about cheese knives in the greenmarket.

      1. That’s even worse. Because it’ll become yet another law that everyone ignores and no one bothers challenging. Until someone who doesn’t like you finds it convenient to punish your shameful and egregious violation of public safety laws.

  12. Disposable plastic knives… how’s that gonna help the environment?

  13. Disposable plastic knives… how’s that gonna help the environment?

    Have no fear- a mandate will issue forth that only knives made of corn-based plastics will be allowed.

    1. That way, once they ban the cheese, at least consumers can still eat the knives.

    2. Knives that dissolve in cheese.


  14. But the gay marriage makes up for it. Or so I’ve heard.

    1. Try having a fabulous reception without good cheese.

  15. This reminds me of San Francisco’s newfound hostiility to its own foodie culture.

    1. almost as bad as wretched.

  16. Cheese vendors say that the state will kill off their success at local greenmarkets by subjecting them to similar rules as delis or grocery stores ? since it’s impossible to get access to the same running water in their temporary stands as delis do at a store.

    I think they’re getting the point.

  17. Creative governance from the bonus link:

    The CB 6 committee has taken action in other ways.
    When bars apply for new or renewal liquor licenses, they are asked to sign a document that includes a clause not to participate in pub crawls (among other stipulations, such as closing at 2 a.m. instead of the legally sanctioned 4 a.m.)

  18. Defy the State of New York and assault it’s minions.

  19. In 1915, for example, the New York City Board of Health amended the sanitary code, making it legal to sell horse meat.

    I realize this is NY State banning cheese-slicing, but the city has a long history of restricting sale and consumption of food as well.

    1. My apologies. NYC legalized horsemeat in 1915

      I blame bad wikipedia editing. Above link is the NYTs.

  20. I really don’t understand how anyone can expect the state governments to cut even one dime from their budgets when they have so many important tasks like this to perform.

  21. If it saves just one life…

    1. Cheese is murder.

  22. They can only get that license if they have, for instance, a three-basin sink and hot water heater.

    Why can’t a person simply use sanitary wipes or sanitary lotion?

    Those things, unlike warm water, actually clean your hands.

    1. Pet Peeve:

      Rubbing goo on your hands does not clean them. It just sterilizes the dirt.

      As for the cheesemongers keeping clean: gloves. Ta-da, no water, no goo, no wipes, and clean service.

  23. “…so I curtailed my Walpoling activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles!”

  24. Blessed are the cheesemakers.

  25. That cat looks like a serial killer.

    1. I know where you live Brian.

  26. Land of the Free.

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