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Demonstrators in New York rage over US ban on French cheese mites

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, April 14, 2013 21:37 EDT
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Importers and supporters offers samples of French cheese Mimolette to pedestrians during an event to support the import in the US of the 17th century-old cheese, after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blocked the cheese to enter the territory, during an event in New York, April 13, 2013. Photo: AFP.
 
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AFP - Around 40 protesters took to the streets of New York on Saturday to demonstrate against a US ban on mimolette that has angered lovers of the distinctive French cheese.

Since March, several hundred pounds of the bright orange cheese have been held up by US customs because of a warning by the Food and Drug Administration that it contained microscopic cheese mites.

The mites are a critical part of the process to produce mimolette, giving it its distinctive grayish crust.

The US decision has angered importers and consumers, who have even set up a Facebook page titled “Save the Mimolette.”

Protesters in Greenwich Village — many dressed in orange– handed out bite-sized samples of the cheese to passersby in order to raise awareness of the ban.

“We had eight balls of three kilos (6.6 pounds), so we decided to educate people a little,” said Benoit de Vitton, an importer of the cheese.

De Vitton said he was baffled by the recent blockade, noting he has imported mimolette for two decades without a problem.

“They are afraid of allergies,” he said. “But we’ve been doing this for 20 years without any problem.”

The protesters included several Americans, including Jennifer Palmer, a lawyer who rallied to the cause after seeing the appeal on Facebook.

“I want to support mimolette,” said the Texan, who attended with her young daughter and husband. “We adore mimolette.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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