May 11, 2013

Mimolette cheese can't possibly meet the FDA's target of no more than 6 cheese mites per inch.

"Cheese mites are microscopic little bugs that live on the surfaces of aged cheeses, munching the microscopic molds that grow there. For many aged cheeses, they're something of an industry nuisance, gently brushed off the cheeses. But for Mimolette, a bright orange French cheese, they're actually encouraged."

French cheeses sing out in protest against U.S. government regulation:



ADDED: Is there some reason why we should be more upset about microscopic insects than we are with microscopic bacteria? From Bill Bryson's (delightful!) book "At Home: A Short History of Private Life":
Your bed alone, if it is averagely clean, averagely old, averagely dimensioned, and turned averagely often (which is to say almost never) is likely to be home to some two million tiny bed mites, too small to be seen with the naked eye but unquestionably there. It has been calculated that if your pillow is six years old (which is the average age for a pillow), one-tenth of its weight will be made up of sloughed skin, living and dead mites, and mite dung—or frass, as it is known to entomologists....

If you had the right equipment and a peculiar measure of motivation, you could find numberless millions of dinky creatures living with you—vast tribes of isopods, pleopods, endopodites, myriapods, chilopods, pauropods, and other all-but-invisible specks. Some of these little creatures are practically ineradicable. An insect named Niptus hololeucus has been found living in cayenne pepper and in the cork stoppers of cyanide bottles. Some, like flour mites and cheese mites, dine with you pretty regularly.

Move down to the next level of living things, to the world of microbes, and the numbers swell beyond counting. Your skin alone is home to about a trillion bacteria. Inside you are many thousands of trillions more, many of them engaged in necessary and helpful tasks like breaking down food in the gut. Altogether you hold about a hundred quadrillion bacterial cells in your body. If you took them out and put them in a pile, they would weigh about four pounds....

39 comments:

rhhardin said...

It sounds like Jacques Brel.

Is Brel a cheese?

rhhardin said...

Brel to go with your French cheese.

cubanbob said...

Is there any evidence of people getting ill because of the mites? If not, doesn't the FDA have better uses for its limited resources?

gerry said...

Mmmmmm. Cheese mites.

lemondog said...

I eat cheddar and gouda. Didn’t know of the existence of Cheese mites

Are they different from dust mites

Will a sanitizing wand be useful?

Ann Althouse said...

"Will a sanitizing wand be useful?"

If you're fussy about eating invisible insects, will you be happier if they are dead?

Quaestor said...

[Doesn't] the FDA have better uses for its limited resources?

No one at the FDA admits to having limited resources.

I hope the frogsh hit us back with some equally foolish and meddlesome regs. Vive les fromages de la belle France!

Sorun said...

I love cheese, but I don't want to know too much about it.

exiledonmainst said...

All those cheese mites - and yet the French nation lives and breathes.

One of the great pleasures of France was going to the local market and buying bread and a hunk of stinky cheese, some pate and cornichons for lunch - usually the only lunch I could afford over there since I was a backpacking student. Not once did I fall ill.

As Mark Steyn has pointed out, while you can justly criticize French behavior during WWII, at least they're not terrified of a few microbes.

lemondog said...

If you're fussy about eating invisible insects, will you be happier if they are dead?

I dont' mind a little crunch if they are fried crisp.

rhhardin said...

The dog eats the bed mites.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rabel said...

I tried to warn yall about the mite menace just a few days ago, but no one heard at all, not even the chair:

"Cheese mites would seem to be a problem.

They look like dust mites and crawl around inside the cheese and poop. Their poop creates enzymes which help the cheese to age.

Why wasn't I told this before?'

edutcher said...

Makes me glad I stick to Cheddar.

Carl said...

The Hygiene Hypothesis suggests that there is such a thing as too much cleanliness, which derives its empirical power from the correlation between hygiene (e.g. lack of exposure to canonical kindergarten infection) and autoimmune disease (e.g. asthma).

The idea is that when the human immune system, our internal FDA, so to speak, lacks real enemies it starts to find imaginary enemies -- in the form of some of our own fast-growing or in some other way unusual cells. Some people have apparently had success treating IBS and Crohn's by deliberately infecting the patient with intestinal parasites. The immune system goes to war against the genuine invaders, and forgets to persecute the self.

Perhaps there is a social hygiene hypothesis to consider. When the FDA (or government "regulators" generally) lacks for sufficient real targets -- there are no more Sinclair stockyards shoving diseased meat into cans for the slums, the water is universally typhoid and E. coli free, snake oil is no longer sold -- it finds imaginary targets, and we develop the social equivalent of auto-immune diseases.

bagoh20 said...

I wish I had no problem eating insects, because that would be really convenient. I bet some are delicious, or at least one could train themselves to think so.

I watched an 80lb Doberman Pinscher I'm fostering play with a 1 gram moth today for half an hour, before eating it. It's like he was preparing it to some strict tenderizing procedure.

bagoh20 said...

"If you took them (bacteria) out and put them in a pile, they would weigh about four pounds"

So can I lose a few pound with antibiotics?

James said...

If you visit the French and Parfait blog you'll see the delightful C├ęcile Delarue. I remember her from French TV news but apparently she now lives in the U.S.

Gahrie said...

The FDA does realize that honey is bee vomit, right?

Cedarford said...

edutcher said...
Makes me glad I stick to Cheddar.

--------------
You would be even "safer" shunning cheddar and sticking with processed Velveeta or that wonderful American contribution to Gastronomy - individal slices of American in plastic wrap.

There is also the famous American right-sized and ethylene colored "Cello cardboard tomato" - something so unpalatable that insects and even fungus and bacteria avoid it like the plague. Eat that, Ed.

FDA should bug out, IMO.

Especially where food is concerned when it comes from a place generally credited with a far better cuisine.

It's like the Dept of Transportation in the 70s and 80s holding up import of certain German cars because they hadn't been subjected to the "rigorous US government testing" as the Pintos and K-cars were.

YoungHegelian said...

Cheese mites? Cheese mites?

Who the hell worries about cheese mites when it can get so much worse!

Bender said...

It's all part of a healthy ecosystem.

exiledonmainst said...

Hey, grandma said you'll eat a bushel basket full of dirt before you die.

David said...

The French are dying like flies from their cheeses, right?

And of course once you buy the cheese at the store, these little suckers don't reproduce, right?

You realize of course this could be an extinction event for the cheese mites? Don't we need an environmental impact statement before this regulation is enforced?

Each year a commission of non expert citizens should determine the most stupid and useless 5% of regulations. The citizens would all be unpaid volunteers. None could be government employees or contractors. Those who were involved in drafting and publishing the 5% would be fired and banned from any government employment or consultancy for 10 years.

That would make the silly bastards give it a little more thought.

And second thought, let's expand it. The stupidest 5% at each agency get fired.

Deb said...
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TML said...

Did Bryson ever write anything undelightful?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

TML: no.

Also, this reminds me of that Italian cheese, can't be bothered to look it up, that has live maggots in it. They have a way of removing the maggots before eating it, but the hardcore eat it with them and say those are the good parts......

Jeff Teal said...

Humans have apparently been modifying our raw foods for tens of housands of years by many many methods-including lerting critters pre digest it for us.Works for me.

Balfegor said...

RE: I have misplaced my pants

That would be Casu Marzu. Linked by Young Hegelian above.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Ed and Cedarford cut the cheese: chirbit

John Lynch said...

I work in a restaurant. I've butchered animals.

I don't care.

bagoh20 said...

Raylan, Do me! C'mon, do me!

traditionalguy said...

It's the eternally childish ick factor being used as psyops by our efficient Federal Agency which must appear to be needed to justify huge salary and benefits forever.

traditionalguy said...

The ionizer air cleaners will kill them. Buy one at Althouse Amazon.

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El Pollo Raylan said...

bagoh20 said...
Raylan, Do me! C'mon, do me!

I picture you were narrating the "Inga Zone" series. Would you like to be Rod Serling in general?

Barbara said...

Re Bill Bryson: I've enjoyed his books too, but in almost every one you can find a couple of cutting and mocking comments revealing his disdain for Republicans and conservatives. Thus I have stopped supporting his efforts (unless I can find one of his recent books at Friends of the Library sales for 25 cent).

Barbara said...

Re Bill Bryson: I've enjoyed his books too, but in almost every one you can find a couple of cutting and mocking comments revealing his disdain for Republicans and conservatives. Thus I have stopped supporting his efforts (unless I can find one of his recent books at Friends of the Library sales for 25 cent).

jimbino said...

Didn't I read some years ago that Indian veggie rice-eaters would suffer severe malnutrition were it not for all the insect parts they ate along with their rice?