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Saturday: Leave Cheese Alone!!

Warning: This tartiflette could kill you. Extreme caution advised

The FDA is considering new rules for cheese. The 60 day aging rule was simply not enough to completely remove all subtlety and flavor from cheese.  No, it’s not enough that buying raw milk cheese in this country is like trying to score good thai stick these days (not that I would know anything about that.  I’ve just heard rumors.).

Who is running this country??  Is it the insurance companies and class action lawyers?  For millenium, the French have been able to eat lovely, tart and grainy cheeses aged in caves with all of the microbes that attend the maturation process and no one says boo over there to a little extra flavor.  But tracking down a smelly and delicious Reblochon cheese in this country is like trying to find the Ivory Bill Woodpecker.  You hear about such things but when you actually go to buy it, you find that it’s really a Reblochon made for the American market where the sucker has been pasteurized and aged within an inch of its life.  In fact, it’s NOT alive.  It lacks the dirty toe smell, the “Oooo, *that* smells interesting” aroma.  Melting a “processed for YOUR protection” Reblochon on a tartiflette, well, you might as well have bought a cheap wheel of brie.

Look, I’m all for safety.  And so are the French.  So, if they can enjoy cheese in its natural state, why can’t we?  Why not package it up like a box of cigarettes with a ton of warning labels for pregnant women and children under the age of 2 and anyone with a weakened immune system?  Don’t reduce the entire American cheese market to stuff that tastes like Velveeta and CrackerBarrel.  In fact, it’s really unfair that you can buy cigarettes and smoke yourself silly into a nice case of small cell carcinoma, a well known, provable effect of smoking tobacco, but you can’t buy a raw milk cheese that Europeans gulp down on a daily basis without ill effects because *someone*, *somewhere* might get a case of e coli, which many of us get all of the time from various sources.  E coli was found in a crop of scallions several years ago, but did we ban all green onions?

What’s really behind the move to protect us from enjoying even the simplest pleasures of life?  Are there really so many mothers out there who can’t read a label on a package of raw milk cheeses that we have to prevent the entire 300 million of us from enjoying them?  If that’s the case, we need to improve our literacy skills.  Or are we just beholden to the insurance industry who is interested in keeping lawsuits to a minimum?  Lets get the profit motive out of the insurance industry and class action lawsuit business so we can enjoy  extremely dangerous things again like cheese, playground equipment and antibiotics.  Find out what French safety standards are, copy them religiously, label the damn things and let us eat at our own risk.

This is one rule the FDA should be relaxing, not tightening up.

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