Ted August 24, 2023 8:01 AM

Will the real Parmigiano Reggiano please stand up?

With a $2bn (£1.6bn) counterfeit cheese market, I’m curious about the claims that the “p-Chip microtransponders are virtually impossible to duplicate or counterfeit.”

modem phonemes August 24, 2023 9:44 AM

“The cheese, which can trace its history back to the middle ages …”

Now that’s aged cheese.

Clive Robinson August 24, 2023 9:50 AM


Cheese and chips…

And it’s not even Friday or Tuesday…

But more seriously, there has not yet been an anti-tamper device that’s even close to 100% except where there is something totally and uniquely random, and with a fully verifiable and secure authentication channel.

But one thing that does concern me,

“The microchips are food-safe, but are unlikely to be eaten, given their location in the cheese’s hard skin, which is made from the milk protein casein.”

That “hard skin” is actually boiled slowly to make a “stock base” for soups and sauces. Not sure how “food safe” it would be after that and a set of closely meshing molars chomping and grinding…

Newberry August 24, 2023 10:05 AM

… no real problem for consumers — the “non-genuine” cheese often tastes about the same as the much more expensive stuff.

If consumers could REALLY taste a substantial quality difference in those cheeses … that would be sufficieni to identify the ‘Trademarked’ stuff, without microships.

in U.S., all cheese is generally way over-priced.

SocraticGadfly August 24, 2023 10:49 AM


Now do olive oil from one country in the Middle East to make sure the labels on the back are correct.

Winter August 24, 2023 11:15 AM


no real problem for consumers — the “non-genuine” cheese often tastes about the same as the much more expensive stuff.

I don’t know about parmesan, but for other cheese, the difference is palpable. But if you only can discover that after you bought it, you are in a lemon market. In a lemon market good products fail as no one knows how to find the good stuff among the fake.

in U.S., all cheese is generally way over-priced.

US cheese is only edible when grilled. Good cheese is imported into the US but still tastes substandard because it has to be produced from pasteurized milk.

Newberry August 24, 2023 11:52 AM


difficult to discern good quality cheese and supposed top quality cheeses — but easy to recognize low quality products.
And the many subtle Flavor variations mask one’s perception of basic quality.

As with wine, objective tests consistently show that the supposed taste experts cannot routinely identify the good quality stuff from the alleged top quality stuff.

…same with olive oil

Dusty Daniel August 24, 2023 11:54 AM

… no real problem for consumers — the “non-genuine” cheese often tastes about the same as the much more expensive stuff.

The E.U.’s “protected designation of origin” rules seem quite weird to outsiders. Cheese can only be sold as “parmesan” if it’s made in a particular area of Italy, and passes inspection. The “non-genuine” cheese could, in fact, be the exact same thing made elsewhere, or be a non-aesthetically-pleasing wheel from an otherwise-“genuine” batch. If it tastes the same, that’s probably because it is the same. (Cheddar, despite being named after a village formerly in the E.U., never had such a status: the village couldn’t possibly produce the necessary volume of cheese to make that practical.)

I have my doubts about these being “virtually impossible to duplicate or counterfeit”. But, unless the tags are checked (by customers or stores) at the time of sale, I don’t see anything to stop criminals walking into grocery stores, surreptitiously extracting valid tags from cheese, and maybe melting something to fill the shallow hole. Then the tags could be embedded into parmesan-but-not-legally-parmesan wheels and sold into the parts of the supply chain that check the tags, which presumably pay more than those that don’t.

Also keep in mind that this cheese sells for about a thousand U.S. dollars per wheel. Therefore, individual consumers tend to buy wedges, most of which will never have had a chip. And if small chipped wedges are ever left in customer-accessible fridges, they’ll be obvious targets for outright theft.

ͲimH August 24, 2023 12:29 PM

A sneaky feature of EVOO is that a bottle marked Made in Italy may legally contain oil from Greek olives.

Always look for the acidity percentage. Under 0.5% is difficult to find.

Winter August 24, 2023 12:48 PM


As with wine, objective tests consistently show that the supposed taste experts cannot routinely identify the good quality stuff from the alleged top quality stuff.

That is true for “quality” products. But fake “Feta” made from cow milk looks like real Feta made from sheep milk. However, it does not taste at all like it. The same for Roquefort and Gorgonzola versus Danish cow milk blue cheese. Gouda cheese might look like the yellow stuff sold in the US, but it tastes completely different. And if you ever have been near a Limburgian red-mold cheese, you will have no doubts about its origin (there are no fake Limburgian cheeses).

Making real cheese is difficult [1] and the fungi needed for the French and Italian cheeses are very peculiar. The differences are far from subtle. But the real point is that you cannot see taste and smell from the outside. I cannot see the difference between real and fake Feta, but the difference in taste between sheep milk and cow milk cheese is very large.

[1] Gouda requires raw milk and an enzyme from the stomach of calves that have not been fed anything but milk. It also has to rest for months under controlled conditions. These are not luxuries and taking shortcuts is what makes American cheese a plastic goo that has to be grilled before consumption.

yet another bruce August 24, 2023 3:24 PM


Thank you for the fascinating cheddar exposition.

@Dusty, @all

I suspect that the Guardian article may have lost the thread. I believe the real anti-counterfeiting technology is the system that tracks individual wheels of cheese through the supply chain. The RFID tag is just there to facilitate the tracking. Even if you were to clone, spoof, or recycle an RFID tag the tracking system would still throw an error either because of a missing record or because of a duplicate transaction.

Something similar is done to track beef carcasses through the supply chain in the US. In the case of beef, the issue is more food safety and less counterfeiting.

see for example

Clive Robinson August 24, 2023 4:01 PM

@ Newberry, ALL,

Re : Taste is the least worry.

You must be new here, as I’ve mentioned this all before…

When you say,

“the “non-genuine” cheese often tastes about the same as the much more expensive stuff.”

Whilst true have you wondered why?

A few bits of info for you,

Yes “tastes about the same” is also true of highly toxic lead salts that are called “lead sugar” for that very reason (and used to be made with urine).

Lye added to sour milk breaks down the buterate and makes it smell and taste creamy not like the rancid butter it did before the adulteration so as used to happen in Victorian London bad milk could be made poisonus just to keep selling it long after what we would call it’s “shelf life”.

There are many many more examples of poisons being added to food stuffs. And it still goes on, look up the Chinese baby milk scandle. Where the Sanlu Group’s milk and infant formula along with other food materials and components were adulterated with the chemical melamine. The Chinese courts sentanced a number of those involved to death and atleast two from memory were executed.

As for US baby/infant formular, you might remember the recent scandle and deaths. Well it also threw up the fact that the FDA along with the US baby formular manufactures “rigged the market” to keep out competition from abroad and keep profits high. It also came out as to why other countries baby formular is not compliant, and is not for very good reason, which is why slightly more clued up US mums get their formular from abroad.

In Europe you are not alowed to use GMO products in foods or feedstuff, but in the US “Franken Foods” as some call them are the norm and don’t need to be mentioned as such on product lables thanks to the lobbying of the likes of Monsanto.

Then there are chickens with extra added chlorine and similar compounds to significantly increase shelf life. Other “washes” are used to keep “red meat red” and suppress the smell of fish (fresh fish do not smell fishy by the way).

As for charcuterie, we all should know that excessive use of nitrates is extreamly harmful[1]. But… Excessive use makes fake “cured meats” in days rather than months or years and also removes all the losses that other traditional curing methods risk. The con in the US is to imply the nitrates used are celery[2] thus no mention of artificial chemicals such as sodium nitrate need be put on the lable… A cardiologist I know only half jokingly says “American’s get their angina meds[3] for free with their fast food”.

Oh fun fact do you know the difference between an “addative” and a “processing agent”?

Well an additive has to be found one way or another on the label, processing agents do not.

Which is why nitric acid turns up in certain cartons of citrus juices. Likeeise silicon oil you might lubricate a machine with turns up in bread. As does chemically modified animal hair and feathers but being addatives they get hidden behind “E” numbers and similar.

And don’t get me started on chemically modified pig and cow skin injected into chickens, added to meat pies and used to retain upto 50% by weight water (see “York Ham” and also why most bacon sizzels and ruines frying pans).

I could go on at considerable length, but I’d probably scare you into growing a second head in your nightmares…

[1] Originaly nitrates were collected as crystals from middens (rotting waste) and dung (human and animal excrement) later they were made by fermenting and putrifing urine and later still extracted from mined bird excrement centuries if not millennium old.


[3] One well known angina medication is ISBN another GTN also called nitro glycerin (yup “blasting oil” foind in Dynamite etc). The N in both names is for the nitrate components in the chemicals. Nearly all nitrates you injest via meds or food have an effect on your blood vessels, so easing blood flow to the heart, but also giving “NG headaches”.

Dusty Daniel August 24, 2023 5:28 PM

Clive, re: cheddar cheese, Wikipedia claims, with citation, that it’s named after the village. As far as I can tell, the verb “to cheddar” is etymologically derived from that name, not vice-versa as you suggest. None of these sources look very definitive, though. (Also, the process of cheddaring looks like it could be applied to various types of cheese; but at least in North America, “cheddar cheese” is expected to have a certain taste, not just to have had some technical process applied.)

In any case, “cheddar” is not a protected term, while “parmesan” is (for some reason—any discerning consumer should actually be looking for “Parmigiano Reggiano”). So, a cheese could be chemically indistinguishable from the protected type, assuming one could find the right bacteria, and still not be allowed to use the name. Or, sure, could have been adulterated with questionable substances to save money, but I don’t think cheese being not-legally-parmesan is much of a red flag by itself. And if food regulators let harmful substances get into our food, being strict only about one type of cheese probably isn’t a sufficient precaution.

“yet another bruce”, your explanation makes sense, but depends on a trustworthy supply chain. I wonder whether the big grocery chains care enough to insist on that. I kind of doubt it. We can’t even reliably get romaine lettuce that’s free of E. coli, or dehumidifiers that won’t burn our homes down. Find the point of the supply chain at which people “stop caring” (stop scanning those chips), and that’s where opportunities for fraud appear.

lurker August 24, 2023 7:41 PM

@Clive Robinson, All

Rhetorical question: why would anyone add melamine to milk powder, or processed pig skin to chicken or pies?

Because it gives an apparently higher protein content under current laboratory tests for protein. For this reason cheese was added to meat pies in NZ, and was clearly marked on the label. Govt regulations required a minimum protein content, and the test could not distinguish between milk or meat protein. The cheese used is offcuts, vat ends and stuff that doesn’t meet export quality standards, which might previously have gone to pig food, and is certainly cheaper than real beef. The “Steak and Cheese” pie is now claimed as a NZ Classic. It’s certainly not parmesan in those pies.

JonKnowsNothing August 24, 2023 11:02 PM

@lurker, all

re: alternate sourced ingredients

A very good point about the practice of mixing ingredients to bump some aspect of food value. It’s done with cattle feed and to lesser extents other animals feeds.

For cattle feed the manure is collected from the feed yards and processed; one component is urea (1). Urea and the cleaned organic waste can be fed back to the cattle in specific portions. Cattle and other ruminants have a different digestive process than simple stomach animals like humans. Their systems can process food types that are indigestible by humans. It’s direct recycling of nutrients.

It can also be hazardous by introducing disease pathogens.

Pigs used to be fed “kitchen garbage or dinner waste”. There was a pail for food scraps and perhaps a second pail for old milk product. This went into the feed trough as-is. It caused a lot of disease outbreaks. The outbreaks were reduced by boiling the garbage before feeding it. However, we have modern pathogens that are not so easily destroyed and feeding boiled garbage is done by small farms or people with only a few pigs. Large industrial farms feed Pig-Hog Ration as mixed by Big Agra like Purina.

Getting the right mix of ingredients for a species is important. Dogs eat cereal and protein. Cats eat only protein. The ratios are different.

Currently many pets have digestive issues with the mix of food ingredients. Big Ag has responded by creating a number of versions of feed. Wheat, Corn, Soy, Oats may not be tolerated so there are feeds without them.

One of the problems with modern food ingredients is not only the GMO and allergy problems but there are religious prohibitions on some foods or combinations. In past eras, Friday was a Fish Day for Catholics globally. Everyone knew what would be on the table Friday night. Other prohibitions make ingredient assumptions problematic. Hindus do not eat meat or beef. Jello (or Jelly in UK) is made from gelatin (2) which is a processed by product of animal slaughter.

We don’t always know what’s in the food. We don’t always know how we will react to the same dish, because we never know when an ingredient from one source is swapped for the same item from a different source. It may all look the same on the outside but it may not go down or stay down once it’s on the inside.



ht tps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Urea

  • Urea serves an important role in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds by animals and is the main nitrogen-containing substance in the urine of mammals.
  • More than 90% of world industrial production of urea is destined for use as a nitrogen-release fertilizer.[9] Urea has the highest nitrogen content of all solid nitrogenous fertilizers in common use. Therefore, it has a low transportation cost per unit of nitrogen nutrient.


  • The worldwide demand of gelatin was about 620,000 tonnes (1.4×109 lb) in 2019.[35] On a commercial scale, gelatin is made from by-products of the meat and leather industries. Most gelatin is derived from pork skins, pork and cattle bones, or split cattle hides. Gelatin made from fish by-products avoids some of the religious objections to gelatin consumption.
    • The 10th-century Kitab al-Tabikh includes a recipe for a fish aspic, made by boiling fish heads.[39]
    • A recipe for jelled meat broth is found in Le Viandier, written in or around 1375.[40]
    • In 15th century Britain, cattle hooves were boiled to produce a gel.

(url fractured)

Winter August 24, 2023 11:23 PM


It caused a lot of disease outbreaks.

Feeding offal to cows produced mad cow disease after “deregulation” of the processing requirements by the then ruling conservative government.

JonKnowsNothing August 25, 2023 2:37 AM


re: Feeding offal to cows produced mad cow disease

It is a bit more complicated than this but it was the primary vector for it entering the human food chain and the result was the discovery of distorted proteins which have chemical bonds so strong they could not be broken.

There is a disease called Scrapie in sheep. (1) In open pasturage where sheep and cows co-mingle there was the rare potential for cattle to become infected.

The problem occurred with the method of disposing of diseased animals. At that time and currently, there are rules and regulations of how a sick animal maybe disposed of but it was amply proven that these rules and restrictions were often ignored when processing live but sick animals. Processing carcasses of dead animals has a different set of regulations. (2)

Sick animals and animals not yet showing overt signs of BSE sickness were processed into animal feeds as protein supplements. As we all know from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it doesn’t take much to kill a lot.

Humans with a particular genetic trait are more susceptible to the fatal disease known as variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD).

While there were super strict rules for a relatively long time, they are now not so strict and regular mini outbreaks happen. Quick slaughter and better disposal of the infected animal reduces the impact.

There is still a large push from ranchers to have sick animals accepted for slaughter. Each adult animal is worth several thousand USD. The loss of revenue is significant. Some governments regularly compensate ranchers and farmers for the forced cull of their herds and flocks. Not all compensation schemes are sufficient to cover the costs of Lost Investment, Cost to Sanitize and Sterilize the Environment (where possible) and the Purchase of Replacement Stock.

In the USA in California, the carcasses of animals that are euthanized by a veterinarian cannot be sent to rendering plants. It has been decided that the residue of the injections given by the vet are no longer wanted in any form. The carcasses of these animals are sent to a special location in the local landfills.

iirc(badly) In EU many localities eat horse meat and rather than euthanize a horse that can no longer be of service, they are sold to the abattoir, where they are slaughtered like any other livestock. In California, it is prohibited to eat horse meat or to send horses out of state or to Canada for slaughter. Horses in California are euthanized and are not part of the food chain.



ht tps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Scrapie

  • Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the nervous systems of sheep and goats.[1] It is one of several transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), and as such it is thought to be caused by a prion. Scrapie has been known since at least 1732 and does not appear to be transmissible to humans. However, it has been found to be experimentally transmissible to humanised transgenic mice and non-human primates.

ht tps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Rendering_(animal_products)

  • Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, usable materials. Rendering can refer to any processing of animal products into more useful materials, or, more narrowly, to the rendering of whole animal fatty tissue into purified fats like lard or tallow. Rendering can be carried out on an industrial, farm, or kitchen scale. It can also be applied to non-animal products that are rendered down to pulp. The rendering process simultaneously dries the material and separates the fat from the bone and protein, yielding a fat commodity and a protein meal.

(url fractured)

marco August 25, 2023 6:01 AM


There are issues for consumers, of course: the price of the fake cheese is the same of the original one… that is the fraud.
If you don’t care about taste or quality, maybe you care about your money.


cheddarmonk August 25, 2023 6:22 AM

(Cheddar, despite being named after a village formerly in the E.U., never had such a status: the village couldn’t possibly produce the necessary volume of cheese to make that practical.)

That’s not the reason: the reason is that the name lost its geographical designation far too long ago. In evidence I offer Stilton cheese: it received protection as a designation of origin when the UK was still in the EU, but the PDO does not permit production of Stilton cheese in Stilton village, which despite being the source of the name was never the production centre. (Is there a branding version of Stigler’s law of eponymy?)

Note also that there is a PDO “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar” which includes Cheddar cheese made in Cheddar.

JonKnowsNothing August 25, 2023 6:49 AM

@Marcho, Newberry, All

re: the price of the fake cheese is the same of the original one that is the fraud.

The pricing of cheese has nothing to do with fraud under normal commerce.

Presenting and labeling a cheese to be the same as a trademarked or protected area type maybe fraud depending on who puts the label on.

  • Many producers have multiple tiers of product. The same producer puts on different labels depending on their own production quality or quantity or contract.

In theory presenting Olive Oil with the label First Press Virgin Olive Oil when it is not is called food adulteration. Each country has a percentage tolerance allowed in contents to account for variations in manufacturing or processing. Items outside that level of tolerance may fall into fraudulent presentation.

  • Canadian wheat is sold to Italy. Italy makes pasta and spaghetti from the wheat. The pasta is sold on the global market as “Italian”.

Unfortunately, few agencies bother to uphold those regulations and only act if some ingredient makes people sick. It doesn’t matter if the the item is “original or faked” if it’s harmful it gets yanked.

Mislabeling or Relabeling or Repackaging can all be criminal acts unless it’s noted on the package or the facility has authorization to make such changes. A butcher shop is allowed to cut and repackage meats and sell to the general public. A home raised cow can be butchered and the meat used for personal consumption. Neither are misapplications.

However, when meat markets pull old meat from displays, spray it with a food cleaner and re-wrap the meat with a new use-by date, that maybe criminal. In the USA, plenty of law suits have occurred when people purchased such items only to find they are not as presented. Hardly anything happens legally to change this behavior.

There is a lot of food waste based on best-by dates and the food remains perfectly good and edible. If the food has been stored properly it can remain good for a long time.

Nearly all the food I get at the Food Pantry is past the sell-by-date or best-by-date. I am very grateful full to get these items. There are hundreds of people standing line to get them too.

Food labels are a legal mud puddle.

Food pricing is a function of demand (real or created), economic options (more than 1 market or seller), corporate quasi-collusion (weekly market ads with similar items or pricing), and corporate pricing models (Whole Paycheck).

denton scratch August 25, 2023 7:47 AM

@yet another bruce

I believe the real anti-counterfeiting technology is the system that tracks individual wheels of cheese through the supply chain.

Yes, I’m sure that’s true. This is one chip per wheel. Retail consumers don’t buy wheels; they’re huge, the size of a fat truck tyre, and much heavier.

Parmesan rind: yes, I use it in cooking. It enriches the flavour of soups and sauces. But I take it out before serving; it turns to a rubbery unappetising mass.

As far as cheddar cheese is concerned, yes, cheddar is produced worldwide in quantities that the West Country could never match. That’s been going on since long before protected-origin rules were introduced; the ship has sailed. But real West Country cheddar, cut from a wheel, is a very different product from commodity cheddar, even if it’s labelled West Country cheddar; it has a distinctive flavour. It doesn’t taste at all like commodity cheddar. You’d think it was a different type of cheese. It has voids and cracks, it’s crumbly, and it has a rind that is edible. The commercial product is produced in huge rectangular blocks that have no rind. I can’t get real West Country cheddar in this town; the last time I tasted the real thing was in the West Country.

The USA is deeply opposed to food-labelling regulations, which is why I don’t want any kind of trade deal with the USA that involves trade in food.

Clive Robinson August 25, 2023 12:33 PM

@ cheddarmonk, Dusty Daniel,

Re : “West Country” + “Farmhouse cheddar cheese” PDO

“Note also that there is a PDO “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar” which includes Cheddar cheese made in Cheddar.”

Actually it does not mean quite what some might think it may. A “Protected Designation of Origin”(PDO) is in effect a registered trade mark issued to give the consumer information about where a product comes from. It’s like the “little red tractor” logo or “Made in Britain”. That is it’s about where the product in your hand physically came from, not the history of a location with respect to making a type of product.

Have you read the PDO document from,

It makes interesting reading for anyone one familiar with a bureaucratic process to basically misrepresent and confuse…

You will find only two claims to the “historic link” that has to be established.

The first in §4.6, the weak,

“there is evidence to suggest”

That actually means next to nothing as the “evidence” is neither included or refrenced. As for “suggest” that is often regarded as a “weasel word” as it has such latitude it can mean anything or nothing.

The second hidden much further in §4.6 is rather more interesting as at a cursery glance it appears to be a strong claim,

“there is undisputable evidence”

Only there is not, which is why again it’s neither included or refrenced. So that undisputability is based only on an unsupported claim which can not be disputed because there is nothing you can check to dispute it. Even if you go through every public record, and dispute every one, they can say thats not what we refered to…

There is a name for this sort of behaviour but I suspect it would cause this blogs naughty word filter to throw more than just a spanner 😉

But when you get to §4.7 a rather large and geriatric cat crawls out of the bag,

‘Since its registration in 1955 usage of MMB certification trade mark “Farmhouse chedder cheese” has been restricted to makers that meet certain key requirments, namely that:’

And goes on to give not a geographic requirment but a number of proceadual manufacturing and production managment requirments.

So the name “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar cheese” is compound, with the last half being a long existant trade mark that is strongly protected, and the first half being a well recognised name for a large chunk of England and does not refere in any way to manufacturing of cheese or anything else.

The only thing that is new is “West Country” is being preappended to the established manufacturing registered mark “Farmhouse Cheddar cheese”.

So in fact the document is only about the already recognised “west country” name not the place “cheddar” and also about the use of a registered mark for the “manual cheddaring of cheese” as part of a process started on a farm using dairy products produced on the farm…

If you look more carfully, you will see this PDO is actually a “restriction of trade” licence, giving “Farmhouse Cheesemakers Ltd” what is in effect a monopoly position on the artisan makers of cheese by the cheddering process in the “West Country”… They can not sell their cheese using any part of the combined marks.

It was the modern equivalent of establishing “a guild”.

But what it is not is any kind of proof that the particular asspect of cheese making actually was invented in the town or regions of Cheddar Gorge which was historically a centeral market for selling cheese due to the caves in the gorge being used for the maturation –aging/ripening– of all sorts of cheeses produced on the Somerset Flats.

The problem is, because it’s full of compleatly unsupported and at best “hearsay” of faux history, but carries a UK Gov stamp people think it gives credence to the hearsay.

Unfortunately it’s the sort of nonsense that people think is “authenticated secondary documentation” and use as the basis of further nonsense claims… And so it grows like the faux “YellowCake” claims.

Peter Galbavy August 26, 2023 4:09 AM

From my understanding of US food labelling regulations, Soylent Green is perfectly legal and acceptable unless it from overseas.

Clive Robinson August 26, 2023 5:35 AM

@ Peter Galbavy, ALL,

Re : Feedstock issues

“Soylent Green is perfectly legal and acceptable unless it from overseas.”

But if found within jurisdiction the main constituent component is not legal and kept embargoed or quarantined in cages. So there’s a whole body of what some consider grave issues to deal with.

JonKnowsNothing August 26, 2023 11:59 AM

@ Clive, @ cheddarmonk, Dusty Daniel, All

re: Cheese by any other name is ….

I picked up a block of “Danish Blue Cheese” (2023). I checked the “Made In” line and it said Denmark. I noticed some small tiny print after that which I presumed to be some legal boiler plate. That is until I got out a magnifying glass to see what it actually said.

  • Denmark – check
  • Denmark, Wisconsin – ohhhhh

Per the WikiP, it gets even more interesting

In 1912, the Danish Prize Milk Company was founded.[28] In 1926, Pet, Inc. acquired the plant. In 1946, Blue Moon Foods acquired the plant, and converted its production to cheese, marketed under the brand name of ‘Gold-N-Rich’.[28] In 1949, the plant was purchased by Lake to Lake Dairy Cooperative, and began producing cheddar cheese. Under their ownership, the Denmark cheese plant became the second largest cheddar cheese producer in the state.[28] In 1982, Lake to Lake merged with Land O’ Lakes. In 2014, Land O’ Lakes closed the Denmark cheese plant.

There is an “age factor” to cheese and it would be hard for people to know how long it takes to make any specific cheese unless you are making “farmer, cottage or paneer”.

So I have no idea where the blue cheese was actually made, but it certainly was not in Hamlet’s Denmark.


ht tps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Denmark,_Wisconsin#Dairy

ht tps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Paneer

  • Paneer, also known as ponir, is a fresh acid-set cheese common in cuisine of the Indian subcontinent made from full-fat buffalo milk or cow milk. It is a non-aged, non-melting soft cheese made by curdling milk with a fruit- or vegetable-derived acid, such as lemon juice.

ht tps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Cottage_cheese

  • Cottage cheese is a curdled milk product with a mild flavor and a creamy, heterogenous, soupy texture. It is made from skimmed milk by draining curds but retaining some of the whey and keeping the curds loose. An essential step in the manufacturing process distinguishing cottage cheese from other fresh cheeses is the addition of a “dressing” to the curd grains, usually cream, which is mainly responsible for the taste of the product. Cottage cheese is not aged.

h ttps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Farmers_cheese

  • In the United States, farmer cheese (also farmer’s cheese or farmers’ cheese) is pressed curds, an unripened cheese made by adding rennet and bacterial starter to coagulate and acidify milk.

ht tps://en.wikipedia.o r g/wiki/Curd

  • Curd is obtained by coagulating milk in a sequential process called curdling. It can be a final dairy product or the first stage in cheesemaking.[1] The coagulation can be caused by adding rennet, a culture, or any edible acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar, and then allowing it to coagulate. The increased acidity causes the milk proteins (casein) to tangle into solid masses, or curds.

(url fractured)

P Coffman August 27, 2023 12:15 PM

I am in favor of it:


This process wastes time and money.

Any business owner should have an honest right to get regulatory nonsense to slow up.

Since when have we lacked silica in our diet?

Though heavy metals? Okay, do we still regulate these? All right: We know where to find the honest business owner.

I rest my case.

Winter August 27, 2023 2:48 PM

@P Coffman

Any business owner should have an honest right to get regulatory nonsense to slow up.

I have seen this regulatory paradise in China.

Every “honest” Chinese business owner can basically do what they want. Change a letter in the “Abercrombie and Fitch” brandname and you can sell it. You never knew what you were buying. Things like the spiked baby formula were only scandals because too many babies died to keep it quiet.

Who needs regulation? Who needs brands?

JonKnowsNothing August 27, 2023 4:38 PM

@P Coffman, Winter, All

re: Any business owner should have an honest right to get regulatory nonsense to slow up.

You do recognize that while @Winter is describing consumer protections, the real reason there are regulatory rules is to protect “bigger business”. Without rules G$ would be over run, M$ wouldn’t have a monopoly. We could take whatever we wanted, however we wanted and use it however we wanted.

There would be no copyright, no trademarks, no international rules or restrictions. I could sell you a steak and you would never know if came from a horse or a hippopotamus.

The real beneficiary to regulations are businesses that are a wee bit bigger than you. Looking down the ladder you don’t want those folks to get up a rung. The farther up the ladder the more boulders are tossed down.

Governments enact such rules at the request of businesses; it’s called LOBBYING. It’s a big industry dedicated to make sure they get to keep their private patch – private.

Some folks don’t realize that one of the biggest US lobbying areas and the biggest restrictive committees are the Agricultural Committees. They run the group based on something they call “Parity”. Parity means price supports and government farm supports. Sounds nice, until you look exactly at the details: there are only 2-3 major beneficiaries and it isn’t Farmer Smith.

So if you want to know why the price of bread and meat is what it is, it’s not because of regulation for consumer protection, it’s because Big Agra holds the reins on the Ag Committees in Congress.

They want you to eat the tainted meat and oppose all regulations to prevent cross contamination. After the high priced parts are cut off the carcass, the leftovers are tossed in the grinder. Their view is that it’s your personal responsibility to cook out the contaminants, bacteria and viruses all mixed into hundreds of pounds of ground product (beef, chicken, pork),

Big Agra isn’t going to let some backyard farmer or consumer upset their apple cart.


ht tps://

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Economic Research Service

Winter August 28, 2023 7:58 AM


Governments enact such rules at the request of businesses; it’s called LOBBYING. It’s a big industry dedicated to make sure they get to keep their private patch – private.

Lobbying has also been implicated in the vague and unhealthy dietary advice by the government:

“A lot of people are deeply troubled by it,” says Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “There are very clear scientific conclusions about red meat and soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages that were basically absent from the final Dietary Guidelines.”

“This is definitely a turn for the worse,” adds Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Now we have dietary guidelines, intended to serve the public interest, which instead protect the interest of agribusiness.”

JonKnowsNothing August 28, 2023 12:40 PM


re: Lobbying has also been implicated in the vague and unhealthy dietary advice by the government

We’ve had eggs, milk, butter, and a whole host of other “foods and food types” end up on the naughty food charts. Sometimes it takes decades to straighten out the “advice”.

RL tl;dr

When eggs first got handed the Do Not Eat label, it was a topic of big interest and big concerns to the farmers and egg producing ranches. In an exchange with an feeds expert about reducing the cholesterol in eggs by altering the feed (which was done), the expert pointed out that the vast majority of cholesterol in the human body was produced by the body itself. The amount of cholesterol consumed from eggs was a tiny fraction and had very little impact on the total cholesterol numbers.

It took a good while, more than a decade, before it was deemed safe to eat eggs again.

There are at least 2 issues

1) When something goes out of fashion the demand for it falls. Something else replaces it and the demand for that goes up. Letters v Txt Msgs for communication.

2) Who ever has majority market will do anything to keep it. Antacids v Antibiotics for stomach ulcers.

of note: There are many legitimate issues around food, genetics, farm practices and global distribution of foods and the rise of food insecurity.

Winter August 28, 2023 1:39 PM

Re: Cholesterol

The reasoning behind the dietary cholesterol scare has always eluded me. There was no evidence to implicate dietary cholesterol in cardio vascular disease [1].

However, finally being fed up, I used a search engine to get the answer:

After the Second World War, Keys became curious about something that kept cropping up in local newspapers. Many local business executives were being struck down with sudden heart attacks. The most likely cause of the attacks was smoking, but Keys wasn’t looking for that. He tested 286 middle-aged businessmen and found high levels of cholesterol in their blood. He soon concluded that this buildup of cholesterol was the main culprit in the businessmen’s heart attacks.

All that was needed was to build further on “correlation must be causation” to home in on cholesterol.[2]

The backlash against the cholesterol scare has been used to advocate saturated fats as the new healthy foods, which is just as ridiculous.[3]

My conclusion is that people seek eternal youth and the cause of all evil in food.

[1] ‘

[2] Dietary cholesterol comes from animal products. To quote [1]

It is worth noting that most foods that are rich in cholesterol are also high in saturated fatty acids and thus may increase the risk of CVD due to the saturated fatty acid content. The exceptions are eggs and shrimp.

[3] ‘

Clive Robinson August 28, 2023 9:01 PM

@ Winter, JonKnowsNothing,

“After the Second World War, Keys”

Dr Ancel Keys who some incorrectly think the US Army WWII “K-Rations” are named after, certainly designed them. They were loaded with some fat but mostly sugar and other fast carbs (read very unhealthy).

Such was Ancel Keys influance he probably prematurely killed / murdered more people than any tyrant in history.

Only now are we realising not just that he lied about his own published research but just how wrong he was.

The problem is his deadly maw will continue to reach into the future over the next three to five generations atleast due to epigenetics…

Dusty Daniel August 28, 2023 9:12 PM

Winter, re:

The reasoning behind the dietary cholesterol scare has always eluded me. […] My conclusion is that people seek eternal youth and the cause of all evil in food.

That’s basically all it is. There was nothing special about cholesterol. It just hadn’t been blamed before, and there were some papers vaguely hinting at it… and people don’t understand the null hypothesis, and want some simple answer that involves no lifestyle changes. It can be profitable to push such an answer, and what advertisers are gonna pay a TV doctor to say “how about you stop watching TV all day and maybe go for the occasional walk or bike ride?” (Fun fact: tell someone to try getting around by bike, and they’ll quickly come up with 15 reasons why it’ll never work in their situation.)

So, for a while, sugar and calories were “the devil”, and suddenly there was a “diet” version of every soft drink. Keep doing all the stuff you always do, but say “diet” when asking for soda, and all will be well. Eventually people realized they remained out of shape. Well, it must be carbohydrates! Better avoid those. It’s also been gluten, “FODMAPs”, fat (remember those Olestra chips that “may cause anal leakage”?). And there are always fad diets that don’t blame anything per se but promise fast weight loss to those who, for example, are willing to eat only cabbage soup.

It’s not just food. Look up the Saturday Night Live “don’t buy stuff you cannot afford” skit for a humorous take on TV and newspaper people who give financial advice. It’s a simple answer that can work, but involves refraining from an activity (buying stuff) that people want to do. So that advice goes over about as well as “if you don’t want to die, stop killing yourself with cigarettes” or “you’ve gotta stop being a couch potato to get into shape”.

Tatütata August 31, 2023 12:10 PM

I lived a little while in the Netherlands, and it was a cheese lover’s paradise — except that 90%+ of the types offered in most shops like Albert Heijn are Dutch specialties. The varieties are formed of a base type {Gouda, Edam, Maasdam, Leerdammer, Boerenkaas, etc.}, and modifiers {“oud, “belegen”,”met komijn”, etc.}. Add to this a maker’s brand, and you’ve basically filled your entire display.

But in the 1980s I visited England, and as I was in Bath or Bristol (memory fades), the nearby Sainsbury had ZERO cheese from near Cheddar region. It did have cheddar in general (industrial sorts from Ireland, Kiwiland, or Britain). My landlady wouldn’t believe me.

The fraud with olive oil often consists of taking some random vegetable oil (or second-press olive oil) and adding coloring. But true quality olive oil actually has a fairly strong taste which many consumers dislike, so they will naturally converge towards the fake stuff, regardless of what they profess. Fake products labels (and prices) on the supermarket shelves are pretty much the rule. (IMO, passing off Tunisian oil as Italian or Spanish is a far lesser sin, but that’s another story).

Cooking oils can be assessed with a relatively simple setup. A sample is frozen, and its temperature plotted as heat is slowly added. The various plateaus indicate the melting point and proportion of the individual components.

Tatütata August 31, 2023 12:32 PM

Microchips tracking parmigiano? Must be a Bill Gates conspiracy… Are the wheels also getting vaccinated too?

Tatütata August 31, 2023 3:41 PM

It’s not only parmigiano.

Shellfish producers are increasingly putting markings on their products to reduce passing-off. A few patents relating to this can be found going back a few decades, so this is not a new issue. (This is also done for traceability).

Here, from 2014, a French oyster producer is using laser engraving:

It is stated that engraving is superior to microchipping as it doesn’t wound the animal. (The thought of an oyster forming a pearl around a microchip just crossed my mind. RFID necklaces anyone?)

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.