Camem­bert mak­ers raise stink over ‘fraud’

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Henry Sa­muel

FRANCE’S fraud squad has been dragged into a bit­ter cheese war over what con­sti­tutes “real Camem­bert”.

While 95 per cent of Camem­bert is pro­duced by in­dus­trial firms, a hand­ful of in­de­pen­dent pro­duc­ers still hold out, us­ing tech­niques vir­tu­ally un­changed since the French Revo­lu­tion.

The vast ma­jor­ity of con­sumers are un­aware which type they are buy­ing, ac­cord­ing to stud­ies. The purists want to ban the in­dus­trial pro­duc­ers – in­clud­ing Lac­talis, the world’s big­gest cheese maker – from us­ing the word “Nor­mandy” on their la­bels. They claim that, since 2002, the firms have been flout­ing the rules and that Inao, the body which sets cheese ap­pel­la­tion rules, has failed to take them to task.

Véronique Richez-ler­ouge, the pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion des Fro­mage de Ter­roir, is­sued a for­mal com­plaint to the French fraud of­fice, af­ter buy­ing in­dus­tri­ally pro­duced Camem­bert with the word “Nor­mandy” on the packet in the pres­ence of bailiffs.

“These dou­ble stan­dards can no longer be tol­er­ated. The fraud squad must do its work,” she said.

Jean-michel Nalet, a spokesman for Lac­talis, told Le Parisien that re­mov­ing Nor­mandy from the la­bel could have a neg­a­tive “eco­nomic im­pact” on its busi­ness and threaten 1,200 jobs.

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