You’ve probably heard of the US Government’s strategic Helium reserve, or the fuel reserve. But, did you know that there is, under a mountain, a Tolkienesque city made of stacks of food?

Specifically: cheese.

1.4 billion pounds of cheese.

When I was a kid, I had a tour of the great Roquefort caves in France. There, the cheese-wheels are stacked and allowed to “age” which is a nice way of saying “rot.” [And yes I know about the cheese that is full of worms, do not offer links, OK, thanks!] The smell was so horrible that ever since I can only approach mild cheddar, mozzarella, and mild provolone. Even then, I can only eat cheese as a complement to other foods – if it’s not on a pizza or in a sandwich, I can’t get it into my mouth.

This represents a typical massive intrusion by the government into the freemarket for cheese.


  1. johnson catman says

    Yahbut, when the great cheese shortage comes, the US will be prepared to hold out against the rest of the world. Or at least rich assholes will have all of their cheese needs met while the rest of us suffer.

  2. Bruce says

    The cheese storage was and is at the request of the (socialist) dairy farmers, who needed price supports in order to stay in business. Lots of Senators from dairy states have supported this socialist aid program over the decades, including many Republicans.
    People preach free market, but when their business is on the line, they are the equal of any stereotype of a “welfare queen”. Essentially no modern President has opposed this bit of socialism.

  3. crivitz says

    What stands out to me in the video is that this cheese surplus seems to be driven mostly by corporate dairy farms lobbying the government for subsidies resulting in overproduction.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Now that this info has reached FtB, expect blf’s mildly deranged penguin to emigrate to the US – and attack!

    On the bright side, surely she will uncover the Lost Ark somewhere in that cavern.

  5. Callinectes says

    Not worms: fly larvae. This is an important distinction to helminthologists, entomologists, and Sardinian cheese connoisseurs everywhere.

  6. txpiper says

    “I can only approach mild cheddar, mozzarella, and mild provolone.”

    Check. If you’re ever up for the adventure, Boar’s Head has a very good smoked Gruyère.

  7. Tethys says

    If you have never experienced the substance known as government cheese, consider yourself lucky. It is handed out in large blocks to various poor communities, like the Indian reservations. My neighbor (Lakota) gave one to my Mom once, and it was eventually thrown away because it was only technically edible.

    Imagine a cheaper, saltier version of velveeta.

  8. billseymour says

    johnson catman @1 reminded me of all the grain that Joseph (not the cuckold of Mary, the heir apparent of Jacob, a.k.a., Isreal) stored away in the pyramids (guffaw, guffaw, snicker, snicker).  When the time of famine came, he sold the grain, to the folks he had earlier taken it from, at elevated prices (#BiblicalPriceGouging).

  9. nomenexrecto says

    If it’s American-made, it probably isn’t cheese, really…
    Oh, and aging cheese is rather drying it than any kind of rot, usually… makes it less likely to actually rot.
    At least on the civilised side of the Atlantic.

  10. lorn says

    When dealing with large numbers in relation to the population of the US it is a useful approximation to think of the US as having a third of a billion (333 million) people. A closer approximation is 331,002,651 but the actual number in at any point in time is essentially unknowable.

    That scary 1.4 billion pounds of cheese comes out to a quite manageable estimate of 3.1 pounds per person.

  11. cvoinescu says

    Bruce @ #2, my understanding is that the government is giving free money to corporations. That’s not socialism, that’s capitalist business as usual.

Leave a Reply