Cheese 101, Special Features

“Mite” As Well Say Au Revoir to Mimolette

Picture from Wikipedia
Photo from Wikipedia

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed a lack of Mimolette here in the US, Turophiles.  Sadly, the FDA has put a block on this French favorite for a reason that has left many cheese lovers confused and outraged.  Earlier this year, the FDA held up (and eventually destroyed) nearly 1.5 tonnes–roughly 3,300 pounds–of Mimolette cheese that was being imported into the US.  The reasoning?  In short, Mimolette contains too many cheese mites per square inch.  Cheese mites are microscopic mites used to produce certain types of cheese,  Mimolette included.  They are introduced to a cheese so it is aged a certain way, creating particular flavors.  Currently the FDA considers 6 cheese mites per square inch of a cheese to be acceptable levels.  During FDA testing, it was found that the majority of Mimolette being imported greatly exceeded that level, hence the hold up.  The concern is that cheese mites may cause allergic reactions–though many claim there is no proof that these mites cause a negative reaction.  While there is currently no official ban in place, many Mimolette importers are weary of sending their beloved cheese to the US, fearing it will be detained and eventually destroyed.

Cheesemongers and Turophiles alike have raised their voices against this block, taking to the streets in peaceful protests to educate the public on the situation.  There are petitions and even a Save the Mimolette Facebook page (which this proud Curd Nerd is a proud member!).  For now though, it looks as though Mimolette will continue to be blocked should their mite levels be too high.

For those who just can’t live without it, there are a few cheeses out there with similar–albeit not exact same–flavors.  This cheese lover has found many Aged Goudas, such as Beemster XO, to have a similar consistency and flavor profile.  At Bottle King’s Vineyard Market we have a Danish Mimolette currently available to us.  The difference between that and French Mimolette?  It’s much younger and has a wax rind–no excessive amount of mites here!

All we can do now is add our voice to the protest and hope that the FDA and French cheese makers can work something out!

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