Serious Cheese: Macaroni and Cheese Product

Serious Cheese

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"Many of the 'cheesiest' products in the supermarket are not made with real cheese."


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When I was a kid, Kraft used to run a very memorable commercial for their boxed Macaroni and Cheese in which they marketed their product as "the cheesiest." In fact, it was so cheesy, the ad argued, it should be called "Kraft Cheese and Macaroni," as if the order of the components determined their relative importance.

Well, Kraft's dirty little not-so-secret is that their boxed macaroni and cheese doesn't even contain real cheese but a sort of alchemical admixture of cheese's component parts: whey, milkfat, and milk protein concentrate. And now, if Sen. Darrel Aubertine's bill passes in the New York State Senate, Kraft and other companies selling products that contain milk protein concentrate, caseins, or caseinates will have to label their food as "cheese products," and not "cheese."

I hope this bill passes. Cheese is almost sacrosanct to me, an amazingly complex food made from that most precious commodity, a mother's milk. It's a food that deserves respect. Whenever I see products that tout they are made "from real cheese," a little part of me has to laugh—as if food with the word cheese in its name could be made from something other than real cheese.

But of course the joke's on me; many of the "cheesiest" products in the supermarket are not made with real cheese. So I see a law forcing manufacturers to tell the truth on their labels as a good thing.

What about you? Is this a justified crackdown on misleading advertising? Or just an overzealous legislator trying to force his pastoral ideals on the free market?

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