American cheese lovers are incensed that a rather tasty French cheese, mimolette, has been banned by the US government on the grounds that the cheese mites that give it such a tangy flavour could cause allergic reactions.
The French are also pretty cheesed off that 1.5 tonnes of the distinctive cheese, first made when Louis XIV wanted a domestic version of the Dutch cheese Edam, are rotting away in a warehouse and can’t be eaten.
The manufacturers claim that nobody has ever become ill from eating mimolette, that the cheese mites are essential for the taste, and just can’t understand the fuss. They say the cheese has been imported into the States for around 20 years with no previous problems.
After all, many foods that could cause allergic reactions – like peanuts and wheat - are on sale without any objection. Allergy-prone individuals are expected simply to avoid the offending items.
I’ve never tried any mimolette myself so I’ve no idea whether the special taste is worth fighting for or not. In fact until today I’d never heard of mimolette or for that matter milbenkäse, another cheese that uses cheese mites.
Cheese lovers are protesting vigorously, especially on a “Save The Mimolette” Facebook page, whose slogan is “No to the Mimolette ban in the US! Let us eat stinky cheese!” The right to nibble freely is being stoutly upheld.
I imagine the only real hazard of eating mimolette, like cheese generally, would be a few extra pounds on the scales. But US food inspectors seem to have got it in for the poor defenceless cheese mites. What miserable killjoys!
Pic: not mimolette but something reassuringly mite-free....