June 20, 2013 2:52PM

Watch On The Rinds: The FDA’s Mimolette Ban

Mimolette is a beloved French cheese produced for hundreds of years around the city of Lille. It looks somewhat like a ripe cantaloupe and tastes not unlike classic Dutch Gouda, to which it is related. Its distinctively pitted rind and hard‐​to‐​pin‐​down taste both arise from the action of microscopic cheese mites that are deliberately introduced to its surface as part of its production. Mimolette has been imported to specialty cheese shops in the United States for many years without incident, but now it’s come to the attention of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is afraid that someone might have an allergic reaction to lingering remnants of the insect helpers (which are mostly removed in processing before final shipment). Now a large quantity of the expensive cheese is sitting in a warehouse in New Jersey, legally frozen, while its American fanciers prepare to go without. 

Jill Erber, who with her husband runs two cheese shops in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., has organized a consumer protest and talks to Cato’s Caleb Brown in this new video. “You mess with people’s food, they don’t like that,” she says. “They like to be able to make their own choices.”

After watching the video, you may wonder: could this be the most useless allocation of FDA resources yet? It just mite.