By Linda Hall •
Updated: 25 Nov 2023 • 16:30
CAMEMBERT: No plastic packaging for Controlled Designation of Origin cheeses
Photo credit: CC/Bobby Lightspeed
EUROPEAN UNION recycling regulations have not succeeded in removing Camembert from its distinctive matchwood box.
French cheesemakers were aghast when a closer look at the small print in directives on streamlining and optimising waste management suggested that Camembert could no longer be ripened and sold in wooden boxes.
This process gives the cheese its creamy texture and recognisable smell, but wood is difficult to recycle sustainably. At the same time, transferring Camembert to problem-free plastic containers would result in an unidentifiable “sweaty and flabby” product, cheesemakers complained.
“Packaging them in plastic would be a gustatory and environmental aberration,” declared Laurence Sailliet, a French Euro-MP belonging to the People’s Party, the biggest group in the European parliament.
“Europe must know how to protect the environment, but never to the detriment of the specific characteristics of its member states,” she added.
Such was the outraged outcry that the EU’s Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius had to pledge beforehand that Brussels would ensure that raw-milk, non-industrialised Cambembert cheeses bearing the Controlled Designation of Origin label would still be sold in the familiar round box.
As expected, the European MPs November 22 voted to permit the matchwood boxes for Camembert as well as Pont l’Eveque and Mont d’Or.
“We have saved our Camemberts,” said relieved French free-trade Renew Europe legislator Valerie Hayer after the vote.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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