The FDA Wants to Take Away Your Right to Free Cheese (Aging) [Updated]
This is why cheese shouldn’t pay taxes.
There’s been a lot of talk of government overreach lately, especially given that President Barak Obama’s second term is winding down. But no matter your politics, there are certain things that are so egregious that they transcend the halls of Washington and hit you right in the arteries.
According to the latest news, the Food and Drug Administration — otherwise known as “He Who Shall Not Be Named” – is trying to take away our right to free cheese. More accurately they are trying to take away our right to purchase certain traditionally-prepared styles of cheese.
A new rule enacted by the FDA aims to stop the aging of cheese on wood. The official argument for this new measure is to ensure that the surfaces used for aging are “adequately cleanable”, like plastic. It’s a position that is, to many cheese-lovers, roughly equivalent to telling a five-year-old that not only are Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy imaginary, but they also hate you.
The decision is harmful to the cheese industry, as it will not only cause major changes in the current production of American cheeses, but it may actually put a stop to the importation of cheese as well.
And perhaps the worst part of this whole endeavor is that the FDA’s actions in this matter are not, strictly speaking, legal. According to Forbes, the FDA has forgone the “notice and comment” procedure that acts as a protection for the American public and their cheese rights (which are part of the 84th amendment or something). The “notice and comment” measure requires the FDA to give notice of a new regulation or a new interpretation of a regulation, and allow the public to comment on it before it is enacted. A step that the FDA has seemingly by-passed.
Moreover, the same article goes on to say that the science behind the new rule is faulty. There is no evidence to suggest that wood is any less “adequately cleanable” than plastic. In fact, there is actually some backing to the idea that plastic can be more harmful than wood!
So it’s not just the ramblings of an errant food blog that defend your right to cheese. There is no excuse for the FDA to take away the food that is so near and dear to our hearts and minds (mostly our hearts).
Update 6/13: Despite an initial reaction the the backlash among cheese lovers in which the FDA claimed to be enforcing a rule that has been around since the 1980′s, the organization has now taken a step back. They issued a statement yesterday claiming that they would not restrict the age-old practice of the cheese-making community. We like to think this article had something to do with that. You’re welcome.