Saturday, June 07, 2008

Stuff you can't make up

Here are two words that I never thought would be combined to describe something - bathtub cheese:
A rare form of tuberculosis caused by illegal, unpasteurized dairy products, including the popular queso fresco cheese, is rising among Hispanic immigrants in Southern California and raising fears about a resurgence of a strain all but eradicated in the U.S.

Cases of the Mycobacterium bovis strain of TB have increased in San Diego county, particularly among children who drink or eat dairy foods made from the milk of infected cattle, a study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases shows.

But the germ can infect anyone who eats contaminated fresh cheeses sold by street vendors, smuggled across the Mexican border or produced by families who try to make a living selling so-called “bathtub cheese” made in home tubs and backyard troughs.
Demand for Hispanic cheeses has skyrocketed in California, where 108 million pounds of legal, properly pasteurized queso fresco and other cheeses were produced last year, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Last year, Moser was concerned enough about dangerous, illegal varieties to launch a public health campaign that included ads on Spanish-language television stations and new brochures that warned families to beware of infected cheese.

Officials seize illegal cheese

Agriculture officials have been cracking down on illegally produced cheese, including more than 375 pounds of so-called “bathtub cheese” seized from an open-air market in San Bernardino last year, according to Steve Lyle, the agency’s director of public affairs. Such cheeses have been found to be colonized with salmonella, listeria, E. coli and M. Bovis TB.

At least they know enough to brand it under a more appealing name - "Queso Fresco". I guess "Queso de Bano" doesn't "cut" it. Bathtub Cheese sounds like something you'd find collecting in the tub's drain trap.

Don't Mexican Americans have enough problems with the legal system to not compound them by smuggling illegal cheese into the country? How good can this cheese be? Does it get you high? It would have to be really good cheese.


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Hey, where you used to live there were plenty of white people sneaking around the pasteurization laws.

June 07, 2008 11:35 AM  

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