Heroic Cheesemonger Fights FDA Crackdown on French Fromage, Mimolette


Credit: Cheesetique

The process for making mimolette sounds pretty gross. The rind of this French gouda competitor is aerated by tiny cheese mites, which burrow into the skin. When the cheese is ready for market, the mites are removed—mostly. It's tough to get every single one of those little buggers off, which means the cheese poses a minute risk to customer who might be allergic to the mites.

The Food and Drug Administration's solution: Total cheese lockdown:

Since March, several hundred pounds of the bright orange cheese have been held up by US customs because of a warning by the Food and Drug Administration that it contained microscopic cheese mites.

The mites are a critical part of the process to produce mimolette, giving it its distinctive grayish crust.

But Reason's favorite chessemonger, Jill Erber of Alexandria, Virginia's Cheesetique, is fighting back. She's offering Facebook giveaways of free cheese to her saddest followers. In her customer newsletter today, she writes:

Adieu, Mimolette. It's been nice knowing you. And thank you, FDA, for further limiting our ability to choose for ourselves. 

This isn't the first time Erber has fought back on behalf of innocent cheese in the face of overweening state power. Here's what she had to say about a massive tarrif increase on Roquefort as part of a 2009 trade war:

Obviously, Roquefort is a TEENY TINY portion of imported food in the US, so why pick on this poor little cheese and, by association, the 600-person town of Roquefort? It's called symbolism, my friends. Roquefort, like foie gras and truffles, simply says, "France".

Why do I focus today on this seemingly insignificant example of protectionism at it worst when there are such large-scale issues to consider in our tumultuous time? For that reason exactly. There are so many huge examples of economic policies gone awry, totaling billions and trillions of dollars, and for that very reason, I point out this easily identifiable, but no less extreme violation of the American ways of free choice and trade.

Reason's own Baylen Linnekin has chronicled the battle over mimolette here

And check out this video of Erber made during the Roquefort controversy: