The Corner

Live Brie or Die

In the all-seeing security state, nothing gets past their eyes — and everything gets pasteurized. American ports are on an FDA orange alert:

Since March, several hundred pounds of the bright orange cheese [Mimolette] 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…

According to the FDA’s Patricia El-Hinnawy, there’s no official limit, but the target is no more than six mites per square inch. For Mimolette, that’s a near impossible standard.

Immigration, the IRS, cheese . . . it’s all about “targets,” isn’t it? And the great thing about targets, as opposed to laws, is there’s nowhere to go to vote them down.

Benoit de Vitton is the North American representative for Isigny, one of the largest producers of Mimolette. In March, de Vitton began receiving letters from each of the dozen importers he works with, saying that their Mimolette shipments had been detained.

De Vitton estimates that he now has about a ton of cheese sitting in FDA warehouses in New Jersey.

This rang a wearily familiar bell with me. From my book America Alone, page 182:

In America, unpasteurized un-aged raw cheese that would be standard in any Continental fromagerie is banned. Americans, so zealous in defense of their liberties when it comes to guns, are happy to roll over for the nanny state when it comes to the cheese board . . . The French may be surrender monkeys on the battlefield, but they don’t throw their hands up and flee in terror just because the Brie’s a bit ripe. It’s the Americans who are the cheese-surrendering eating-monkeys — who insist, oh, no, the only way to deal with this sliver of Roquefort is to set up a rigorous ongoing Hans Blix-type inspections regime.

Has the FDA with its insistence on over-processed, homogenized, one-size-fits-all food done anything for the health of the American people? Well, you can’t help noticing the one size is now the largest in the developed world. But let’s stick to principles here:

The federalization of food may seem peripheral to national security issues, and the taste of American milk – compared with its French or English or even Québécois equivalents – may seem a small loss. But take almost any area of American life: what’s the more common approach nowadays? The excessive government regulation exemplified by American cheese or the spirit of self-reliance embodied in the Second Amendment? On a whole raft of issues from health care to education the United States is trending in an alarmingly fromage-like direction.

From the cheese board to the data bank to the death panel is a shorter journey than you’d imagine. People think my book is about demography and Islam. In fact, it’s about liberty, and when it comes to liberty I want it all — assault weapons and Mimolette, guns and butter.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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