A few days after I posted my review of the first batch of my favorite cheese, I received an email from a dairy product company.
The message was so nice, I decided to take the bait and read it all.
It sounded like it was written by a cheese connoisseur.
I knew exactly what to expect.
It was an extremely boring letter, full of generic marketing jargon and vague advice on what to look for in cheese.
But after reading the letter, I knew it wasn’t as generic as it sounded.
It contained information I hadn’t heard before, like a warning about the “danger” of eating too much cheese.
What followed was the typical marketing onslaught I’ve heard so many times: cheese is good for you, it’s low in calories, it makes you feel good, and it’s a source of protein.
It seemed to be the sort of thing you’d see in the ad for a high-end, high-fat cheeseburger.
So I opened the letter and found it full of junk.
It included a list of ingredients that were obviously oversold, like parmesan and mayonnaise.
It listed a variety of potential health problems: bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, high blood pressure, kidney failure, diabetes, depression, and liver failure.
Some of the ingredients in the letter didn’t actually cause these health problems, but they were touted as “healthy” by the company and included in a product that was supposed to be sold at an expensive price.
And the worst part?
It wasn’t just a list.
I found a recipe for a brand of cheese called “Budy” on Amazon and went to Amazon to order it.
“Bunny” sounds good, right?
I’ve made it before and I love it, so I thought.
But it wasn.
I made a mistake.
And I didn’t realize until later that the product I ordered contained one ingredient I didn, in fact, have in my fridge.
It turns out that this product wasn’t even listed on Amazon, according to the FDA.
“I was like, I want this, this is what I wanted,” says Julia Smith, who owns the Cheese Club.
“So I looked up this company, I called them up and they said, ‘Well, it was listed on our website as having something in it,'” says Smith.
The FDA said the product was “unlisted,” meaning it was never listed on the website.
So how did the FDA know it was fake?
According to the agency, a product may not be listed on a website if the FDA doesn’t have any way to verify its authenticity.
And if the product doesn’t exist on a product listing site, there’s no way to know if the company’s website or email address was correct.
“If you see a product listed on an Amazon or eBay or something and it doesn’t even exist,” says Smith, “there’s no reason to believe it’s fake.”
Smith says that she’s received numerous emails from customers who’ve found their product advertised in online stores or other places, and they’ve never received any kind of verification from the FDA, either.
In fact, she says, they’ve also been able to get the product on their websites without ever getting the FDA’s permission.
“It’s not a real cheese, it doesn: it’s just a product they put in their website, and that’s it,” says Johnson.
“That’s the real reason they couldn’t verify it.”
Smith, however, says that the FDA is “very careful” about its verification process, and she’s not surprised when they don’t provide information on products listed on online sites.
“You know what?
We’ve been waiting for them to give us this information for years,” says Jones.
“They have a list, they know what they’re doing.
They’ve done this a number of times.
They know what the ingredients are and they’re very careful.”
If the FDA has a list or website that contains products that aren’t actually available, they can’t verify the product’s authenticity, says Jones, who adds that the agency has also given out “false positives” to other products.
“What we know for sure is that the people that are selling these products are not legitimate, that these products have not been validated by a real person,” says Alex Johnson, who also owns the Chocolate Club and has been selling his own products for over two decades.
“The fact that they’ve given these fake products out without verifying them is not surprising, but it does raise a question.
Who knows what’s in there?”
Johnson says that he’s received emails from people who were trying to get products on their website from “fake” sellers who don’t have a real name or address.
“This is the real deal,” says Jason Miller, who runs a cheese club in his hometown of New Jersey.
Miller, like Smith, says he’s gotten a number “of calls from people” in his area asking him