Americans are very concerned about the safety of their children

Guess which one is banned.


That one was too hard. Here, this one is labeled.


But…but…what about the law abiding cheese collectors? The lawn dart sportsmen?


  1. says

    FIrst person to whine that automatic shooty mcshootfaces are banned, the label ought to be “semi-automatic” gets booted. I know, I don’t care. They’re lethal machines that allow you rapidly spew death. Pew pew.

  2. peptron says

    One that always takes people by surprise is Kinder Surprise being illegal in the US.

  3. peptron says

    But french cheese banned in the US? What’s the rationale? For Kinder Surprise, it’s that you cannot put something that cannot be eaten inside of something that can. This is why there are no chocoguns in the US. Mariage cakes with somebody inside are ok if you keep at least one cannibal in attendance.

  4. Lofty says

    Even French cheeses aren’t good enough weapons to protect yourself against the monsters hiding under your bed.

  5. Lofty says

    Furrin cheese may be made from (gasp) non pasteurised milk and that would be Unclean.

  6. says

    I’m already planning to arm myself with a big wedge of Camembert and march on Congress. That’ll probably get me on a list somewhere.

  7. bojac6 says

    @3 peptron. The FDA does not distinguish between toxigenic and non toxigenic e. coli, which is present in a lot of soft cheeses. Furthermore, raw milk cheeses must be aged at least 60 days to be sold in the USA, because of some laws from the 40s.

  8. DanDare says

    Well French cheese, of course.

    When Christ said “Blessed are the cheese makers” he was, of course, referring to the makers of dairy produce in general.

    He was no apologist for the French and their cheesy cheese cheese.

  9. says

    I live in a country where firearms are mostly illegal (it is possible to own one under regulated conditions and after obtaining a licence to do so, which is not easy and therefore most people do not bother) but knifes of all types and sizes are legal, as well as blowpipes (and bows and crossbows – essentially all “cold” weapons are legal to own and sometimes to carry for people ower 18).

    I always laugh bitterly when I remember that balisongs, switchblades and blowpipes are illegal to even own in US, but guns are fairly easy to obtain and can be sometimes legally carried loaded in public too.

    I think it is possible to go too far when regulating weapons – banning balisiongs and nunchacks in some EU countries is in my opinion silly and idiotic, because it cannot function as crime deterrent and only can serve as a pretext for bored cops to harras people – but to have it backwards like US is a completely different kettle of fish.

  10. blf says

    Living in France, I am very happy cheeses are banned — it means morons with false money won’t be buying up an essential foodstuff.

    The ban does not, however, go anywheres near far enough. It should be generalized to anything not made without c.½-days walk from home, as anything beyond that range is furrin and therefore untrustworthy. This includes congress-wastrels and their so-called “laws”, in addition to magic sky faeries and their so-called “laws”.

    Plus, of course, teh Intertubes, since that clearly allows people further than c.½-days walk away to offer opinions.

    (Insert </snark> as (in-)appropriate.)

  11. Zeppelin says

    Waitwait, nevermind the gun stuff, does this mean you can’t buy CAMEMBERT in the US? That’s, like, one of the Basic Cheeses!

  12. says

    It’s probably protectionism from the american cheese lobby, which I am sure exists. I believe that prosciutto was similarly banned for a long time until finally there was enough, “no, really? it hasn’t killed anyone in ages.” Gotta keep those low-cost french cheeses out of the US so they don’t compete with local produce… or something.

  13. says

    Back when they were making one stab at regulating military-style guns, some assbag lawmaker slid in that a military-style gun had certain components with certain properties (e.g.: folding stock, flash hider…) but that it was OK if one out of the three was made in America! So not only did they make it easier to defeat the intent of the law, they threw a little protectionism in as well.

    Congresspeople and presidents seem to like to have guards around them all the time. I wonder if they’d feel differently about this issue if anyone with a gun could just walk up to them? You know, like the rest of us live.

  14. Gregory Greenwood says

    I know some French cheeses that should probably be considered bioweapons in their own right, but even so the fact that automatic weapons* are legal and French cheeses are banned in a society that is suffering an ongoing epidemic of mass shootings but, so far as I know, no cheese-related casualties of any note (it is hardly Silence of the Camembert out there) seems perverse to put it mildly.


    * Listens for the sweet, sweet sound of the grinding of gun-fondler teeth.

  15. congenital cynic says

    Late to the thread, but I was also immediately thinking about the deadly Kinder Surprise.

    And one of the best things about France, apart from the public medicine, is those wonderful unpasteurized milk cheeses.

  16. says

    Whatever the [i]proper[/i] term may be, in common language (even among shooters) the term “automatic” can mean either type depending on the context. “Semi-automatic” and “fully automatic” (full auto) are used when there is a chance of misunderstanding. So claiming that “automatic” only means full auto is nit-picking at best.

    It doesn’t hurt to be accurate though. Even minor errors can be used to dismiss the opponent as ignorant.

    Other than that your point is well made. Not only are they legal, but they are virtually unregulated. Most states doesn’t even have gun registration, making things like background checks pretty much useless.

  17. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    How is it not illegal for restaurants in US to sell steak tartar or sushi? Considering the cheese ban…

  18. says


    How is it not illegal for restaurants in US to sell steak tartar or sushi?

    American cows! And, uh, sushi is regulated. (Honestly, I have no idea.)

  19. Bob Foster says

    A very ripe Epoisses will clear out a room quicker than a nutjob waving a pistol. There’s only one way to eat it — with a glass of full bodied red wine. I recommend drinking the wine first.

  20. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    So you just have to get Americans to make Camembert-style cheese and suddenly the ban will be lifted (or at least be changed so that it specifically targets French cheeses, but not American knock-offs)?

  21. qwints says

    Do not look for consistency in American food regulations. It’s a mish mash of decades old laws written by competing armies of industry lobbyists.

    @charly, look up the problem of the New York ban on “gravity knives”.

  22. congenital cynic says

    To address what some people upthread said. I don’t think that it’s illegal to import all French cheeses to the US. I think that the rules apply only to cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. We have some similar nonsense regulations here in Canada, but I think there are some cheeses that are exempt, even though they are made from unpasteurized milk. Not sure of the details. One of the things I always loved about trips to France (I think I’ve been 8 times now) was getting those little goat cheeses made from u-p milk, and a good bottle of wine, and just savouring the wonder of the cheese I could not buy at home.

  23. says

    Pierce @ 22:

    The legality of knives varies from state to state. In mine, North Dakota, all types of knives are legal, you just can’t conceal any of them. Yes, having a pocket knife in your pocket is illegal here.

  24. karpad says

    Balisongs vary in legality by state. Some states do ban them, and based on the wording among the laypeople, it is often readily assumed they’re banned everywhere.
    Another detail that apparently matters on butterfly knife legality is whether it’s single bladed or double edged, despite this not really making a knife more dangerous to anyone but the user.
    dummy knives of this style are also legal throughout the states, which are basically “a knife that hasn’t been sharpened” so even where they are illegal, about 2 minutes with a grinder can get around that.

    Like most weapon bans in this country, it gets caught up in technical details that allow for easy workarounds, which is why things like changing a stock or having a plug where one could attach a bayonet changes the legality on assault weapons.

    It’s almost like these laws are specifically written by weasely politicians eager to appease generous gun manufacturer donors while doing something that, to the public at large, appears meaningful.

  25. says

    I will say that the prosciutto ban was protectionism on the part of american charcuterie producers, that simply could not make an air-dried ham that was anywhere near as good. So, they banned it. Consequently, one of the relatively short list of crimes I’ve committed was smuggling home an entire prosciutto on my return from Milan in 1999 – I hope the statute of limitations has run out. Crime may not pay but it sure can be yummy.

    It’s a family tradition. Customs will also stop certain tinned meats such as pate and – of course – cheeses. I remember watching my dad eat a pretty amazing amount of foie gras and camembert at Kennedy airport when I was a kid – customs found the 2 items he had in his carry-on and never looked in the suitcase…

  26. cartomancer says

    This explains why so many Americans are so angry and beligerent all the time. I’d probably be running round in an apoplectic kill frenzy too if I wasn’t allowed to have proper cheese. Admittedly I’m not the biggest soft cheese fan in the world – hard cheeses being much more to my taste and temperament – but without brie the world would be at least 73% less fun. One also wonders how on earth you managed to get your obesity rates so high without soft cheese – that’s actually quite impressive.

    A simple and obvious solution presents itself – create firearms that only work once the user has ingested a sufficiently excessive quantity of cheese. Nobody who has gorged themselves silly on camembert, gouda, manchego and jarg will be in much of a mood to go on a murder spree. It’s just about the only thing that has prevented my family from murdering each other several times over each Christmas. Alternatively insist that all guns are in fact made out of cheese, because nobody with a delicious lump of cheese in their hand will be able to resist gobbling it down and thereby disarming themself.

  27. magistramarla says

    While my son-in-law was stationed in Germany, my grandson got to be very familiar with kinder eggs. Like all kids living in Germany, he quickly learned that there are safety rules when it comes to eating them, and he loves them dearly. Now that they are back in the US, he’s thrilled when a friend of his parents visits and smuggles him a kinder egg or two.
    He has to be the only six year old around who is disappointed when his Halloween candy haul doesn’t contain any Belgian or German chocolates. The Omas on the block really spoiled him with good chocolate. It’s a good thing that this Grandma has access to the military commissary, where I can buy some of those good chocolates, but alas, no kinder eggs.

  28. magistramarla says

    I know that I’ve bought Camembert, brie and Manchego at the commissary for many years. The next time I’m there, I’ll have to check whether they are actually imported or are American versions. I know that I’ve been able to buy delicious butter and cheeses imported from Ireland there.

  29. says


    delicious butter and cheeses imported from Ireland there.

    Mister got hooked on Irish butter some months ago, he doesn’t want anything else.

  30. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    How is it not illegal for restaurants in US to sell steak tartar or sushi? Considering the cheese ban…

    It’s part of the War on Consistency in Legal Rationale, of course.

    (See basically the entirety of the multilevel Department Of Frivolous Restrictions on Alcohol).

  31. numerobis says

    The cheese list is wrong: I’ve bought a few off that list in the US — tomme de Savoie being my favorite. The general rule is it has to be aged 60 days.

    In Quebec I buy many fewer imported cheeses, because we have delicious local cheeses.

    As for butter, how does the US make such crappy butter? The “delicious Irish butter” is table butter there, and is identical to what we have in Canada, or what’s available in France or Germany.

  32. says

    Those are all points worthy of serious consideration.
    Also: increasing marijuana’s legal availability might help a bit. If you’re really stoned you’re more likely to kill off a plate of nachos than anything else.

  33. says

    Mister got hooked on Irish butter some months ago, he doesn’t want anything else.

    Wait!!! … There’s something else?


    Joking aside: I use the domestic butter product as cooking lubricant but it’s actually not that much cheaper than imported Irish butter (aka: “butter”)

  34. Rich Woods says

    @numerobis #34:

    As for butter, how does the US make such crappy butter?


  35. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    How is it not illegal for restaurants in US to sell steak tartar or sushi?
    That’s why every menu in every restaurant will have in fine print “raw or undercooked meat may have serious consequences”
    To absolve the restaurant of any responsibility; essentially using “informed consent” as defense for serving infested meat.
    They seem to hope the most people still respect “boilerplate” as binding contract; and not that boilerplate is worthless tissue paper legally; simply a bluff.
    Aside from that, I think restaurants are positioning themselves as a providing a Service (cooking the food and serving it), and not providing a Product (an edible meal).

  36. Holms says

    Would anyone like to play <a href=""Thoughts and Prayers? A flash game that shows you how to save lives with thinking and praying.

    Reminds me of something I saw in Jon Rosenberg’s (author of SFAM) feed:
    me: people are dying from automatic weapons, hundres of thousands dead
    gun assholes: you’re not using the right terms, invalid argument

    There shall be no talk of cheese unless it is American Cheddar, aka Freedom Cheese.

  37. says


    look up the problem of the New York ban on “gravity knives”.

    Thank you for pointing that out. I looked it up and from what Dr. Google has shown me on first page of search results this exactly sums and nicely underlines my point “it cannot function as crime deterrent and only can serve as a pretext for bored cops to harras people”[sic][sorry for the damage to your eyes caused by my typos and spelling fails, I notice them always after posting]

    Ad balisongs: my bad, I did not know their legality varies wildly in US, I really thought they were banned altoghether with switchblades. The overall point about backwards logic of US weapon regulation laws stands however.

    Like this:
    Inspired by Caine, I just looked at North Dakota laws – carrying teensy folding knife in your trouser pocked is illegal, but having a semi-automatic rifle on your shoulder and a pocket full of armour piercing ammo (and huge magazines at that) is not.

    Idiotic. There is no other word for it.

  38. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Oh, you just reminded me that I need to drop by “” and order some illegal goodies.

  39. says

    I am really unhappy about American’s tendency to exempt cops, security guards, and soldiers of the imperium from the laws that apply to the rest of us. The last thing we need is more swaggering over-armed people walking about. And, yes, it has created a small market in companies that’ll let you be a security guard so you can buy overpowered gear, or a “police auxiliary” so you can carry a gun even when you’re hardly qualified to carry a fucking tootsie roll.

  40. Knabb says

    Then there’s nunchucks*. Several states ban them, an in New York part of the rationale for the ban is that they are a) used in muggings and similar, and b) designed primarily as a weapon**. Last I checked, most firearms are designed primarily as a weapon, particularly the sort of handguns most likely to be used in a mugging. Hunting pistols aren’t a thing.

    Naturally, the specialized club adapted from a farming implement gets banned. The vastly more dangerous handgun? Totally legal if you get an easily accessed permit. A baseball bat? Another still legal specialized club, so it’s not like the ban serves any purpose, even if the glaring hole for firearms is left open. Gun enthusiasts can consistently get ahold of and use all sorts of guns with minimal oversight, despite them being extremely dangerous modern weapons; people who have an interest in archaic, obsolete, vastly less dangerous weapons have to check state laws much more carefully.

    It’s all about having those priorities straight. Sure, handguns are used in the vast majority of murders, but you’ve got to be careful about the person who wants to swing around a shillelagh for fun. That’s the real threat. Similarly, the person walking around with an assault rifle is a patriotic American hero, who’s right to walk around with an assault rifle is not to be questioned. Someone walking around with a sword cane is a dangerous eccentric liable to stab someone.

    *To use the term in use; the whole pluralization and transliteration issues are a whole different bag of worms.


  41. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    The label is all wrong! It ought to include Swiss and Italian cheeses, too!

  42. says

    Marcus@43 in Canada the only armed private security allowed is for the transport of “precious goods” like large sums of money and diamonds. In other words armoured truck guards working for companies like Brinks and G4S.

    After Canadian Army Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa in 2014 some people wanted soldiers on such ceremonial duties to be armed. They seemed to think that being trained how to handle firearms for military purposes was the same as being trained to handle guns the way cops do. The idea didn’t get very far fortunately.

  43. numerobis says

    I’d love to see a right-to-bear-arms case involving nunchucks. The amendment clearly says arms, not firearms, so why would it matter what type of arms?

  44. says

    One could add that even fully automatic weapons are legal. They are however heavily regulated through the National Firearms Act (including registration in a federal database) and limited to guns made before 1986 (grandfather clause).

    It would be useful to look at crime data for NFA-registered firearms, it should provide good data on the effectiveness of nationwide registration. I wholeheartedly believe that any working solution (other than a ban) must include this.

  45. blf says

    Amongst the many advantages of living in France, are cheese!, moar cheese!!, REAL CHEESE!!!, MUSHROOMS!, and a notable absence of gun-fondlers.

  46. cartomancer says

    I’d say that nunchuks should be allowed, but you have to be an actual nun to use them…

  47. Menyambal says

    A lot of the bans on certain knives were aimed at the various ethnic groups who carried them, and the bans are still in place, in places. The general excuse was that the knives were concealable and quick-opening. Nowadays, thumb-opening knives are very common, and very quick to open, and usually fitted with a pocket clip for ease of access. The only excuse for still banning switchblades is that they are too long and skinny to be good tools, and are only intended for hurting people.

  48. Knabb says

    Concealable, quickly accessible items useless as tools and only intended for hurting people also describes handguns, so that excuse rings a little hollow. It’s not that it is in any way wrong with regards to switchblades, just that it’s a legal standard that apparently only exists for non-firearm weapons.

    Then there’s the matter of banning weapons which aren’t any more dangerous than freely available tools of the same size, and how little it does. Does anyone actually need to own a short sword? No. Does having it available give violent people access to meaningly superior killing implements than the machetes and small axes that have tool purposes? Also no. Does anyone need brass knuckles or a switch blade? Again, no, but there are useful pocket knives that can be used as weapons just as dangerously. Nunchucks fit in here as well, as something not really more dangerous than a baseball bat or a crowbar (but they’re dangerous foreign weapons, so obviously they have to go in the minds of several legislators).

    The bans don’t really have much of an effect – other than the knife bans which allow harassment of various ethnic groups, and of how all of them let legislators cheaply bolster their image as being “tough on crime”, while doing nothing to either reduce crime or to ban the sort of weapons which can’t be easily substituted with something you can buy at Ace Hardware for twenty bucks. If anything, it squanders the political capital which could otherwise be used for that, and is actively detrimental to gun control.

  49. Matt says

    I can’t believe you couldn’t tell the difference between plastic-tipped lawn darts and metal-tipped lawn darts. Clearly you know nothing about lawn darts.

  50. says

    The first picture has led me to research “lawn darts”. And I learned interesting things, oh my yes.

    Lawn darts were hugely popular in US and over a span of several decades they have led to thousands of injuries and three to four (sources vary) death children. In my opinion that is sufficient to ban them (or at least heavy regulate them and consistently inform public about their danger), no argument there, children do not need a toy that is capable of cracking someone’s skull. On the other hand I guess a pétangue ball could also kill… nevermind.

    But over the same period, multiplefold times more children die due firearms, some of which are also sold as children products. Like that poor girl who was shot by her brother when he got his “toy” rifle at five years age. Firearms are in US exempted from safety regulations that apply to other products. Curiouser and curiouser.

    We live and learn, I guess.

  51. benedic says

    I presume that it is ok for a citizen to possess a Tank in USA. Is there any limit on its main gun?

  52. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    The only excuse for still banning switchblades is that they are too long and skinny to be good tools, and are only intended for hurting people.

    I remember the urban ~myth~legend~etc that knives with blades longer than ,,,
    ie the width of the owner’s palm was the criteria for determining the legality of the length of a blade.
    or maybe confusing with the casual criteria (before TSA) of hand carrying on-board a plane.
    sorry for the tangent, too lazy to google it. so inconsequential trivial historical detail, as TSA now forbids knives. period. length not a factor. even zero length knives in nail clipper form are banned. so just curious.

  53. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    But over the same period, multiplefold times more children die due firearms, some of which are also sold as children products.

    like the mixed message in the movie A Christmas Story
    where Gene’s (Jean Sheppard) Christmas wish for a BB-gun is perpetually remarked at with “forget about it. you’ll shoot your eye out”. And then gets one wrapped up as Xmas present. First attempt at target practice, the BB ricochets back and hits him in the eye, breaking his eyeglass lens rather than his eyeball. To me, a very mixed message. Were all the naysayers fruitlessly paranoid, yet proven accurate with Gene accidentally protected by a vision improvement device? Is this story for or against firearms? IDK, either way, maybe that was Sheppard’s point: it’s up to each individual to decide, and to be very careful if they decide to “use” it.
    Sheppard was my favorite, (secret), radio show during my high school years. Like his book “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash”, and “The Ferrari in the Bedroom” (a bed shaped like a ferrari, of course). And his late evening radio show where he would reminisce about his highschool days and tinkering bodging together radios, was quite inspiring while being amusing. I called it “secret” because being late it was on after my bedtime, so I had to listen secretly.

  54. numerobis says

    Charly@60: I played with lawn darts and petanque as a kid (and survived). The difference in terms of being inadvertent weapons is that one is a dart, the other a ball. The dart concentrates all the energy you put into the throw into a small area, which is just barely enough to punch through the skull and penetrate into the brain. The ball can’t do that.

  55. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 64:
    correction: Jean Shepherd was the author, Ralphie was his main character.
    I always considered all of his stories autobiographical, so I of course thought the main character was named Gene, or Jean, or similar, as in homo-phonic.
    just wanted to proofread and correct what I rote, so the rule says this very note will contain a typo…

  56. thecalmone says

    #61 benedic

    A tank? Are you sure you mean a tank or an armoured personnel carrier? There are really significant differences, you know. APCs generally carry automatic cannon, whereas tanks mount guns of much higher calibre, typically 120 mm. Then there is the rifled/smooth bore issue. It’s really very complex. Many uninformed people refer to APCs as “tanks”, when they really should know better.

  57. ealloc says

    You can actually get most of the illustrated cheeses in pasteurized form – trader joes and whole foods commonly have the roquefort, comte, tomme de savoie, morbier, camberbert and brie. I find the hard cheeses (ie, not camembert/brie) tasty.

    The real problem is soft cheeses, which are much tastier and smellier in france. The US version of camembert doesn’t really deserve the name. I’m not sure if that is entirely because of pasteurization, or because they have been adapted for US tastes. Other great soft cheeses like reblochon aren’t even available in pasteurized form. There are a few softer cheeses available here which are sometimes good – the Pont l’Eveque and st marcellin for example, though they’re often sold over-ripe/ammonia-flavored.

  58. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Hrmmm….I’ve had several of those ‘banned’ cheeses at the cheese festival in Seattle. maybe the graphic is out of date, or only some of the french (or imported) types of cheese are banned because they’re made with unPastuerized milk?

  59. numerobis says

    ealloc@68: are you sure they’re pasteurized? When I bought cheese from Whole Foods it was raw milk (otherwise, might as well just buy monterey jack).