Category Archives: News

4C Recalls Grated Parmesan Over Salmonella Risk

4C Grated Parmesan Recall

In between setting my fantasy football roster and purchasing baby moccasins online this morning, I came across a recall announcement from 4C Foods Corp. Since this is a brand that I’ve bought before and because it affects consumers in the Midwest — where many of my friends and family reside — I figured I should post it.

4C is recalling its 6-oz. glass jars of “Grated Cheese HomeStyle Parmesan” with best by dates of July 21, 2016 and July 22, 2016 due to possible contamination with salmonella, the Food and Drug Administration said. The product was distributed in late July in stores in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Luckily, no illnesses have been reported to date. Still, better to err on the side of caution. If you have one of these jars, throw it away and call 4C at 1-718-272-7800 ext. 176 for a refund. 

4C’s recall comes hot on the heels of one last week by Kraft. The cheese giant voluntarily recalled 7,691 cases of Kraft American Singles Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, blaming a supplier for failing to store an ingredient at the correct temperature, possibly leading to premature spoilage and/or food borne illness. Click here for more info on the varieties of Singles and package codes involved in that recall.

 

Cheese-Rolling Contests

Cheese Rolling Contest

This could be the plot of a Hugh Grant movie: a small English village is bypassed by the area’s new highway, leading the town’s residents to dream up a cheese-rolling contest to attract visitors.

As sad and kooky as that sounds, it’s actually the true story of Stilton, England, namesake of the famous blue cheese.

The now-annual event, held Monday, was invented in the 1960s by two pub landlords who told villagers it was “an ancient tradition” to convince them to participate, the BBC reports.

“It’s certainly gone from being a quirky idea to a massive event for the village,” the news outlet quotes a local historian as saying.

While I would love to see an actual wheel of Stilton being rolled down the street, the cheese is too soft and crumbly to make it all the way down the town’s main drag.

Instead, teams roll wooden blocks cut from an old telegraph pole and painted with blue veins to resemble the cheese, according to the BBC.

But even if the cheese were sturdy enough to withstand a good tumble, it seems there could be a liability issue.

In Gloucestershire, “daredevil cheese chasers” have for two centuries spent a late May bank holiday hurling themselves down an incredibly steep hill while trying to catch a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese, the BBC says in a separate report. Not surprisingly, most end up in a heap at the bottom.

Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Contest

Last year, contestants had to chase a foam cheese after police told the cheese maker she could face legal action, the BBC says.

And here I thought the U.S. was a litigious nation. It seems a bit unfair that simply making, or even providing, a wheel of cheese could cause someone to be liable for an injury suffered by a knucklehead who decided to throw it (and himself) down a hill. On the bright side, I suppose, there’s no more wasting a good wheel of Double Gloucester.

Mets Star Declares Cheese Love

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

 

When I was in high school, I read an interview in Cosmopolitan magazine with a model who said something to the effect of “I’m very careful about what I eat. You would never ever find brie in my refrigerator.” I still remember it clearly because it completely horrified the 14-year-old me. Was she implying that I shouldn’t eat brie if I wanted to be thin? And were there people in the world who actually believed that malarkey?

It still irks me when celebrities make disparaging comments about cheese being the gateway drug to obesity. Everything in moderation, people. A little brie won’t do you in. Just look at the svelte yet cheese-adoring French. But I digress. The whole point of this post is to say that I really respect a public declaration of cheese love. They are just too few and far between.

That’s why I was so pleased to see New York Mets star pitcher (well, currently-recovering-from-surgery star pitcher) Matt Harvey tell the world — via The New York Times — that he can’t live without cheese.

In last weekend’s edition, he detailed how he eats healthy, exercises and still enjoys mass quantities of dairy.

“Cheese is my favorite food of all time,” the newspaper quoted the pitcher as saying. “I spend more on cheese at Whole Foods than all my other groceries combined. It’s a disgusting habit.”

It’s unclear to me whether he’s calling the amount of cash he blows on cheese disgusting or if he’s referring to the amount he’s eating. Either way, not disgusting, Matt. I don’t see a single thing wrong with either.

Click here for the Times’ full article.

North Korea Rejected By French Cheese School

Emmental
ALAMY via The Telegraph

It looks like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is stuck with subpar Swiss cheese.

A French cheese-making school has refused North Korea’s request to teach three envoys how to make high-quality Emmental, a cheese Kim Jong-un is said to have developed a taste for while studying in Switzerland, reports The Telegraph.

Véronique Drouet, the director of the National Dairy Industry College, said “such a partnership does not fit into our priorities and strategy,” according to the U.K. newspaper.

Click here for The Telegraph’s full story.

Wegmans Cheese Caves

Supermarket Cheese Goes Upscale

The days of grocery store dairy aisles carrying only plasticky, processed American cheese slices have come to an end. Well, almost. As the U.S. experiences an artisan cheese renaissance, a few major supermarket chains are finally realizing that they need to step up the quality of their offerings.

First, Kroger partnered with renowned NYC cheese emporium Murray’s to put mini-Murray’s in its stores throughout the country. Now, Wegmans has built its own “caves” for aging soft cheeses before they hit supermarket shelves.

The 83-store chain notes that the interest customers have shown in the world’s best cheese has grown phenomenally in the past 10 years. “Many have traveled abroad, tasted the best, and want that kind of enjoyment available at home,” a Wegmans exec said in a statement.

Because soft-ripened and washed-rind cheeses don’t travel well, they are partially ripened for a few weeks or months on location where they’re produced and then chilled to prevent further development in transit. When the less-than-ripe cheeses arrive in the U.S., they need additional care for a few days or weeks under specific conditions for their full flavor to develop, Wegmans said.

The supermarket chain hopes that aging the cheeses in its 12,300 square foot temperature- and humidity-controlled facility will bring out the best in each wheel being ripened while also providing consistency for customers. Brie already has its own room and there are seven other “caves” available, allowing Wegmans to age eight different soft and washed-rind varieties at a time.

Photo: The Buffalo News

Cheese Brine De-Icer Saw ‘Limited’ Success

Gary Porter
Gary Porter via the Journal Sentinel

Back in January I wrote about how Milwaukee was planning to test cheese brine — a byproduct of cheese making — as a road de-icer this winter. Fast forward a few months of funky-smelling city streets and officials aren’t exactly declaring the pilot program a triumph.

The experiment was “fairly successful but limited,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes a city commissioner as saying. Turns out that the de-icer works best in weather over 20 degrees.

Among other things Milwaukee learned: cheddar and swiss cheese brines aren’t too effective on slippery streets. The city saw better results with provolone and mozzarella, the paper reported.

Click here for the Journal Sentinel’s article.

These Guys Give Russian Cheese A Bad Rap

Vkontakte via The Los Angeles Times
Vkontakte via The Los Angeles Times

If only this was a photo of a bunch of Russian guys merrily sharing a hot tub on New Year’s Eve. But no, these are workers at a Siberian dairy plant ringing in the new year by bathing in a giant vat of milk.

Not only did one of the workers post this photo on a Russian social media site, he also included pictures and video of the group demonstrating cheese making in a “clownish manner” while still partly undressed, according to The Los Angeles Times. Frankly, I don’t even want to know what that means.

I can’t decide what’s more stupid — climbing into the vat of milk in the first place or actually posting evidence of it on the Internet. I’m just glad I’ve never eaten anything from Trade House Cheeses in Omsk. Hopefully you haven’t either.