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This is what I am talking about

June 10, 2014

This is what I am talking about

Do you know why the Tea Party continues to gain strength? It is because of outrageously stupid and high-handed decisions like this. The government bureaucrats at the FDA have suddenly, out of nowhere, decided to interpret a long-standing rule requiring all materials that come into contact with food to be capable of cleaning to outlaw the use of wooden racks to age cheese.

This may not seem like a huge deal at first glance. I am sure it did not to the people who decided to interpret it this way. But it is. Almost all artisanal cheese is aged on wooden racks. The wood helps absorb the moisture from the drying cheese. It has been done that way, well, since there was cheese invented.

So, any company that uses wooden racks to dry their cheese suddenly can’t sell cheese any more. Just like that. With the stroke of a pen. Of course, they could rebuild all of their drying rooms with different racking systems. For one company, that would cost $20 million dollars. $20 million dollars. And of course, it would cause the cheese to be unsafe, since the racks do not absorb moisture. Yes, the regulation designed to make cheese safer would make it less safe.

And what about cheese from other countries? They all use wooden racks. It’s traditional. So will there be no more imported cheese? Really? From anywhere? People will be smuggling Gruyere in their cars from Mexico like meth? 

With one twist of language, one reinterpretation of a regulation by a government official, with no consultation by the companies affected, with no thought of the cataclysmic destruction it would cause, the world of American cheese has been thrown into turmoil. What utter monstrosity! What colossal stupidity!

Think it can’t happen to your industry? Sure it can! There are always government regulators in every field, and they all have the power to fundamentally alter the practices of business at the slightest whim, out of the blue. All it takes is a new person in the seat, and voila, whole fortunes are lost, businesses ruined, lives changed.

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