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Camembert causes stink in French parliament in row over quality rules

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 14, 2019 - Duration: 01:26s

Camembert causes stink in French parliament in row over quality rules

A row over changes to a quality label for Camembert cheese has reached the French parliament after supporters of a traditional raw-milk recipe distributed samples of the creamy, odorous speciality to lawmakers.

Edward Baran reports.

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Camembert causes stink in French parliament in row over quality rules

French lawmaker Richard Ramos is placing camembert in his colleagues' letterboxes.

It's a protest at plans to allow factory-made pasteurised cheese to join a protected origin scheme.

The quality label system is usually reserved only for camembert made in the traditional way using raw milk from Normandy cows.

And the purists are, to put it mildly, cheesed off.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, RICHARD RAMOS, SAYING: "We'll end up like Coca Cola, we'll eat just any old Camembert anywhere in the world and they'll all have the same taste!

And that means the death of Camembert!" Here in the heartland of camembert production in Normandy, dairy farmer Charles Breant's recipe is close to the original Non-pasteurized milk from Normandy cows is used -- and the ladling of the curd is done by hand.

He shares concerns about the badge of quality.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) DAIRY FARMER, CHARLES BREANT, SAYING: "If pasteurized milk is authorized it will mean the end of the quality label because 98 percent of Camembert cheeses will be pasteurized, and will lose the connection with their territory." The cheese takes its name from the village of Camembert and dates back to the 18th century After the protest, the corridors of the parliament building may have a pungent odour.

But some say it's a small price to pay to save France's cultural heritage,

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