Service of So Much Cheese When Many Have Nothing to Eat

December 26th, 2018

Categories: Cheese, Food, Hunger


I have never understood why in all these years someone hasn’t figured out how to take a surplus of cheese in this country to feed the hungry here and all over the world. Wouldn’t this be better than to toss the cheese once it is no longer edible?

According to Heather Haddon in The Wall Street Journal, “About 1.4 billion pounds of American, cheddar and other kinds of cheese is socked away at cold-storage warehouses across the country, the biggest stockpile since federal record-keeping began a century ago.”

Her headline covers it: “America Can’t Move Its Cheese–U.S. stockpiles of American, cheddar and other varieties continue to set new records as trade slows and tastes change.”

We still like and buy plenty of cheese. Haddon reported that last year we each ate about 37 pounds of it. “I don’t eat any cheese,” say you. That means someone else eats even more than 37 pounds! Wow.


As her headline indicates, trade tensions—retaliatory tariffs—have “tamped down demand” especially from Mexico and China. At the same time Americans favor more sophisticated varieties accounting for an additional reason for the glut. “Per capita consumption of mozzarella has topped cheddar since 2010. Consumption of processed cheese spreads per capita is about half what it was in 2006.” Robust pizza sales account for mozzarella’s taking the top spot.

Nevertheless, if you’re hungry, a piece of tasteless orange cheese can be welcome and lifesaving.


Cheese makers aren’t alone to suffer. “Milk prices are down around 40% from a 2014 peak that encouraged many farmers to expand their herds. Now dairies are going out of business as prices crash. More than 600 dairy farms have closed this year in Wisconsin alone.”

Do you eat cheese? What is your favorite? Can you figure out how the cheese surplus here might be put to good use before it spoils, especially to feed the hungry? Have you noticed that milk prices have decreased at the grocery store?



2 Responses to “Service of So Much Cheese When Many Have Nothing to Eat”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    This problem, it used to and may still apply to silos bursting with grains along with other foods, has been a thorn in the communal backside for decades. Much has to do with the premise that people would become reliant on handouts. Sure, some people are born leeches, but should that shortcoming be an excuse to permit millions to starve? There’s no question this is an international disgrace — but then, equally horrific, are the thousands of families going hungry here in the US. An overwhelming majority want to work. Anyone who’s had to join an unemployment line knows that!

    A possible solution lies in changing the current work ethic. Hard work does not always bring positive results. The understanding that bad luck exists and will not vanish despite herculean efforts, will go a long way to foster understanding, and possibly solutions to alleviate unnecessary suffering.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m sure you are right that we stockpile all sorts of good food that might eradicate the pain of hunger for millions here and abroad. As I write I envision young ones with bloated stomachs and matchstick arms who might benefit.

    So that the prices of these foods aren’t adversely impacted, legitimate charities might purchase the food at deeply discounted prices as long as they shepherd the orders to the mouths of the hungry and not into the hands of the greedy.

    Farmers also want to work and most want to see the fruits of their labors end up helping people to live long, healthy lives. While grateful to be paid something rather than nothing for the stockpiled products, I bet many would prefer that their cheese and other comestibles end up where they should be: In a lunch sandwich or on a dinner table and not in a warehouse.

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