'The year was 1981, and President Ronald Reagan had a cheese problem.'

Quite a remarkable piece from Gastro Obscura about the federal government’s 560 million pounds of cheese in the 80s:

The Washington Post reported that the interest and storage costs for all that dairy was costing around $1 million a day. “We’ve looked and looked at ways to deal with this, but the distribution problems are incredible,” a USDA official was quoted as saying. “Probably the cheapest and most practical thing would be to dump it in the ocean.”

Instead, they decided to jettison 30 million pounds of it into welfare programs and school lunches through the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program. “At a time when American families are under increasing financial pressure, their Government cannot sit by and watch millions of pounds of food turn into waste,” Reagan said in a written statement. The New York Times declared that the bill would “give poor Americans a slice of the cheese surplus.”

Needless to say Reagan had more than a cheese problem during his presidency.

More on cheese: Chiyo Shibata and her Japanese cheese, moose cheese, and pule cheese: the world’s most expensive cheese made from donkey milk

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