by Ben Adler
Of all the midnight regulations issued by President Bush, clearly the most pernicious is an absurd 300 percent import tax on French Roquefort cheese. To those who don’t know, Roquefort is an intensely pungent, slightly soft, blue cheese. It is excellent on salads, particularly those with bacon, oven-fried potatoes or grilled chicken in them, accompanying a balsamic vinaigrette. It can also be a fine garnish for a steak, and is excellent on bread, particularly with roasted peppers.
The Washington Post reports that on January 13 U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced the tax as part of a retaliation for a European Union ban on U.S. beef that contains hormones. Since Roquefort was already quite pricey this tax is, in effect, a ban.
But just as the U.S. is standing up for its Franken-food, the French are standing up for their delicacy. The French Agriculture Minister and French embassy officials in the U.S. are lobbying for a repeal of the ban. I wish them the best of luck.