Sacré bleu—could it be that even France, perhaps the spiritual home of all things dairy, is now stuffing its arteries with not just the creamy ooze of a farty Pont L'Évêque but with the industrially produced stringiness known as processed cheese?
Indeed, the Biblical four horsemen will soon follow a trail of discarded American cheese slice wrappers to usher in the apocalypse.
Send your hate mail to France 2, a television station whose recent documentary exposed the fact that French wholesale producers of ready-made foods—such as burgers and pizza—utilize so-called "fake cheese," rather than the fine stuff that remains a cornerstone of the country's culinary legacy.
With hidden cameras, the documentary depicts such producers stocking bags of processed cheese made with water, vegetable fat, table salt, lactic acid, and potassium sorbate. Other cheeses include a "50-50" mix of 50 percent mozzarella and 50 percent, well, not mozzarella.
This is only the latest French food-bomb to drop. In April, Parisian restaurateur Xavier Denamur claimed more than two-thirds of French restaurants are serving microwaved food purchased from catalogs and wholesalers. That caused a not-insignificant amount of angry baguette-waving by a population that has long regarded its cuisine as one of its primary cultural exports. (Additionally, we reported last week on a French woman who made millions by duping a bunch of Chileans into buying kits to make "magic cheese" to spread on their faces.)
Likewise, restaurant owners and the food elite in France aren't taking the news of a cheese ruse well. The Telegraph spoke to Anne Inquimbert, editor of French food site Ideemiam, who said, "The manufacturers of artificial cheese are like other mass producers of food products. They put profit first so it's up to us, the consumers, to mobilize to save our great cheeses, just like our traditional bread and our fine wines."
And it's not just simple French snobbery that's at play here. Think about what fake cheese could be doing to your body!
"It is fat, saturated fat, but without the beneficial effects of calcium," said nutritionist Beatrice Reynal to France 2.
Right, that's why we eat cheese. For the calcium.