Camembert makers raise stink over ‘fraud’
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.