Free Minds & Free Markets

Cheese Lovers Fight Idiotic FDA Ban on Mimolette Cheese!

With immigration reform in the news, here's another tale of the federal government telling foreigners that they're not welcome in the United States: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding thousands of pounds of mimolette cheese captive in a New Jersey compound because the regulators say the orange-hued, gouda-like fromage has too many mites on its rind.

Never mind that the mites - tiny, microscopic insects - are supposed to be there as part of a cheese-making process that goes back hundreds of years. The mites help to aerate the rind of mimolette, thus helping to produce the cheese's distinctive attributes. Many other cheeses - including hugely popular varieties such as Stilton and high-end "bandage-wrapped" cheddars - also have rind mites that serve similar purposes. The FDA worries that some people might have allergic reactions to the insects.

Virtually all of the mites are blown off the cheese with compressed air or wiped off by hand, but some always manage to stick around. Although it has no official or definitive guideline of how many mites per square inch is acceptable or safe, the FDA has decided that a recent uptick in the number on mimolette is grounds for holding the cheese hostage.

The result, explains Jill Erber, the owner of Cheestique in Alexandria, Virginia, is that once American cheese shops sell out whatever supplies they have left, the United States will be a mimolette-free zone. As she told Reason TV, there is simply no way to know how or when the prohibition might be lifted.

Erber, like other cheesemongers, isn't taking the arbitrary FDA action lying down. As a way of drawing attention to the situation, Cheesetique offered patrons of its Alexandria and Shirlington, Virginia free chunks of mimolette if they posted Facebook pictures of themselves frowning. Another Facebook page, Save the Mimolette, has over 2,000 likes and is rallying forces to say "No to the Mimolette ban in the US! Let us eat stinky cheese!"

For Erber, who worries the FDA will extend the ban to other mite-rind cheeses, the issue is about more than just cheese. "Food is one of the products for which it's easy to say less regulation is better," she explains. "The research is out there, let people look into what they want to eat. If they're concerned about the safety of a particular food, they shouldn't consume it."

And, she adds, "It's less about the actual cheese and more about 'I want my choice.'"

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie. About 3.30 minutes.

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  • Bernieyeball||

    I'd like to talk to you about cheeses...

  • ||

    I make my own cheese. Fuck the federal government.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I just went to a small cheese factory in West Jefferson, NC. And, of course, we were compelled to buy many pounds of different cheeses.

  • fried wylie||

    And, of course, we were compelled to buy many pounds of different cheeses.

    Wouldn't be a very sensible cheesemaker if he didn't.

  • John Galt||

    I make cheese, too. And I'm not just talking about smegma.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Blessed are the cheesemakers!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, obviously, it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Six mites pre square inch? Who needs more than six mites per square inch?

    Hypocritical reason would have us limit the number of bureaucrats to less than six per square inch. But that would be truly disastrous because those regulators are beneficial to the would-be consumer. Unlike mites.

  • sarcasmic||

    I want my
    I want my
    I want my mite filled cheese!

  • NoVAHockey||

    horrible. just horrible.

  • sarcasmic||

    get your.. cheese curds for nothin

    ... and your mites for free

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Gah! No more, I beg you!

  • sarcasmic||

    cheese curds for nuthin'...

    ...mimo-mimolette for free

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "the FDA has decided that a recent uptick in the number on mimolette is grounds for holding the cheese hostage."

    Nobody move, or the cheese gets it! I mean it! I'll fill it so full of holes it will look like...uh, Swiss Cheese...

  • SQRLSY One||

    Nobody takes me alive!!! Nobody, I mean NOBODY!!! The feds show up, man, me an' my cheese mites, we're bustin' straight through the 32nd floor window!!!

  • MasterDarque||

    they should ban this cheese the government knows what is best for us all - Amen

  • JW||

    Well, how about a little red Leicester?

  • JW||

    Well, how about a little red Leicester?

  • JW||

    Thanks, 3 PM daily site shit-out.

  • ||

    I'm lactose intolerant and don't really like cheese/dairy but lemme tell ya, even I know the FDA is retarded. Back in the mid 90s the Canadian government wanted to ban parmiggiano-reggiano. I forget for what reason but it had something to do with the aging process. It may have been for the same reason here. But processed Kraft cheese was a-okay.


    Don't people know Parmiggiano is essential to a risotto?

  • Sevo||

    Ya know, eating stuff kills ya.
    It's true! Ever see anybody who didn't eat anything die? I don't think so!

  • Zephyr||

    "Never mind that the mites - tiny, microscopic insects"
    — Mites aren't insects.

  • Anders||

    I went to a farm recently and had home made goat and cow cheeses that probably violate 40,000 FDA and EPA regulations.

    And hot damn they were all awesome and I lived to tell the tale.

  • ||

    I grew up on raw milk, homemade cheese and butter.

    *pinches self*

    Yep, I survived.

  • ||

    I went to the FDA website and searched under mimolette. I was able to pull up a bunch of enforcement actions/notices on the basis of mimolette cheese consignments being contaminated with listeria, but none on mimolette cheese being held because of cheese mites. Would someone please enlighten me?

  • ||

    If I remember correctly, the genus of listeria that is pathogenic to cows is not pathogenic to humans, and visa versa.

    If cheese has listeria in it, ten to one it is the cow version.

    Still, you may be correct. There is no mention of listeria contamination in the article.

  • SQRLSY One||

    My inside contacts at the FDA say that they are holding these cheeses hostage, held incommunicado, under the “State Secrets” concept. Kinda like the NSA… If the FDA tells the cheese owners that yes, the FDA is a bunch of cheese-nappers, then the cheese owners will have the right to take the FDA to court. But as long as it is a “State Secret” that the FDA is a bunch of cheese-nappers, the cheese-napping doesn’t officially exist, and therefore, the REAL cheese owners have no “legal standing” to bring any kind of lawsuit. Catch-22… So all those Government Almighty “Cheese Protective Services” types that run around all, day, saying, “It’s all for The Cheeses”, they are NO good at ALL, in the face of the Government Almighty’s very own Cheese-Nappers!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Bring on the nukes! Get the FDA out of our way, and we could irradiate all of our food with ionizing radiation, and be done with it. The only good cheese mite, I say, is a dead, nuclearly-irradiated cheese mite! Even better yet, food freedom all around... Buy and sell food at will, as long as you don't practice fraud. But I guess that's just a fever dream...

  • GLK||

    If your cheese isn't orange, square, flat, and individually wrapped, or squirted from a can it isn't sanitary and could kill you, man.

  • ||

    This is easy to understand. Look at all the French dropping over dead from eating this cheese. We want to avoid the same carnage here. French longevity is so much better than ours that maybe we should eat whatever they do. Who knows, mites can be tasty.


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