Fake Cheese

No, I am not going to talk about the grinning at various political conventions, and I won’t even mention Berlusconi whose cheesey smile has been tattood onto his face – or so it seems. The topic is fake cheese, quite literally.

On my way back from Paris I was reading a newspaper article (link to Dutch article) quoting a certain Mel Tunderman, CEO of Vika, the only Dutch producer of fake cheese. The headline reads: Fake Cheese: ‘Inedible but lucrative’. I know it’s an older bit of news but I was shocked by this. Frankly I had no idea there was such a thing as fake cheese, although mr. Tunderman prefers the term ‘analog cheese’. For obvious reasons.

Tricks of the trade are to include a tiny bit of real cheese in the finished product – often a frozen pizza – so you can claim to have used cheese in the ingredient list. The fake cheese is included on the list as it’s components: vegetable oil, starch and a number of artificial flavourings. And the consumer is none the wiser.

You know, this raises so many questions that I do not even know where to begin. It’s starch and oil and it won’t hurt you, but what else is in my food – or rather, what else is not in my food where it should be? And with all the campaigns going on in Western countries to promote healthier diets, why don’t I hear any government say anything at all about this?

I want my food back, damn it!



  1. The point is: governments are not in the business of unnecessarily making trade more difficult for industry, especially the food industry. Industry is where the money comes from,, isn’t it? So you can call a product ‘apple juice’ as long as there are traces of apple in the final product. Sometimes a certain percentage of the real thing is required, but of course one cannot expect a product that belongs in the cheap cheese range to be so expense that one could buy good real cheeese for the same price. Those firms that produce the starch from any type of trash can sell their fake cheese for as little as 10 percent of the normal cheese price. It’s a bit naieve to think that any starch is edible. Think of all the cattle that eat food made from… cattle.

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