How to Score Illegal Cheese

illegal cheeseThe raw food controversy in American continues to rage, with raw milk being removed from the shelves of Whole Foods and other local cheese smuggling shops.

Which made me stop and think, wait a minute, if I was supposed to avoid unpasteurized cheese during pregnancy, yet raw dairy products are illegal in the United States, why couldn't I eat the Brie?

Turns out, I could have eaten the soft cheeses that were American made, because they're all pasteurized. And the French cheeses? Well, I probably could have eaten those too.


Chow broke down the illegal cheese situation and how it works in a major metropolitan area. It's good news for those who need to avoid raw cheese, and great news for those who want to get their hands on some of that fresh French stuff.

While raw cheese is illegal in the U.S., if it is aged for 60 days or more, killing the bacteria, it is suddenly legal. So when you're buying the Camembert from France, you're getting the non-fresh version, which comes without the bacteria that may or may not be dangerous.

(Poutine fans -- it's the real deal if it's made from fresh cheese curds, which are illegal here. However, if your aged cheese curds are being served over french fries and smothered in hot gravy, can you really tell the difference between fresh and aged?)

So what if you want the illegal stuff? Chow advises you strike up a relationship with your cheese dealer, use code words (hint -- never say "illegal" cheese) and the fresh, raw cheese can be yours.

Of course the question many in the raw food movement are asking is, why can we not have access to the same foods other countries readily enjoy? I'm thinking the answer is simply: law suits.

Do you think we should be able to buy unpasteurized cheese in the United States?


Image via david.nikonvscanon/Flickr

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